Exploit Fresh Opportunities for Steady Growth on the New Journey

Ma Xinmin
Chinese Ambassador to Sudan

The year 2021 has seen twists and turns in the once-in-a-century pandemic, accelerating changes unseen in a century, and a combination of transformation and turmoil across the world. Against this backdrop, how to defeat the coronavirus while stabilizing the economy and ensuring the basic needs of the people remains a common task for all nations. As shown by the most recent data on China’s economic performance of 2021, China’s economy, under the firm leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping, has continued to grow despite various pressure and hardship, achieving the dual target of fairly high growth and relatively low inflation. This is once again a globally-acclaimed performance that inspires the people and will inject constant and strong momentum into a global recovery.

China’s economic growth has remained steady and striking. In 2021, China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 8.1% year on year to CNY114.4 trillion, or USD17.7 trillion as calculated at the yearly average exchange rate, ranking second globally and accounting for about 18% of the world economy. Its GDP growth was among the fastest in major economies in the world. The GDP per capita exceeded USD12,500, overtaking the global average and nearing that of a high-income country as defined by the World Bank. China has ranked the world’s first in terms of foreign exchange reserves, added value in the industrial and manufacturing sectors, and the output of over 220 major industrial products. A continuous rise in the economic size and per capita GDP means not only a higher level of composite national strength, productive forces, and living conditions, but also firmer foundations, better conditions, and stronger impetus for future development.

China’s high-quality development, both in terms of quality and quantity, has made faster strides. The state’s strategic scientific and technological strength grew stronger at a faster pace, with the Zhurong rover probing Mars, the Xihe satellite chasing the sun, the Tianhe space station core module traveling among the stars, and the Shenzhou spacecraft soaring up into the sky. As emerging industries and new business forms have thrived, China now leads the world in such technologies as 5G mobile communication, big data, cloud computing, and blockchain. Green and low-carbon development also made new achievements. The consumption of clean energies like natural gas, hydropower, nuclear, wind, and solar accounted for 25.3% of the total energy consumption. The output of new energy vehicles and solar batteries grew by 145.6% and 42.1% respectively compared with 2020. Furthermore, the Chinese government gave strong support for technological innovations. China now has the largest group of 2.1 million researchers in the world. The spending on research and development was up by 14.2% to CNY2.8 trillion in 2021, accounting for 2.44% of the GDP. All this shows that China’s economy has shifted away from high-speed growth to high-quality development, and will achieve steady growth via technological innovations as the main growth driver.

China’s endeavors to ensure people’s wellbeing have remained people-centric and solid. Employment is the foundation of people’s wellbeing. In 2021, the number of new jobs created in urban areas totaled 12.69 million, 0.83 million higher than the previous year’s figure, which means that the yearly target of creating 11 million new jobs was over-fulfilled. Resident income grew basically in step with economic growth. The nationwide per capita disposable income of residents was higher than CNY35,000, real growth of 8.1%. In addition, China’s grain output reached a new high of 680 million metric tons, exceeding 650 million metric tons for the seventh year in a row. This lays a sound foundation for sufficient supply and price stability in the market. The investment to improve living standards has expanded as well. Education and public health investment increased by 11.7% and 24.5% respectively from a year earlier. Last year, China scored a final victory in its fight against poverty, which is an outstanding and historic achievement. Committed to meeting people’s aspirations for an even better life as the starting point and ultimate goal of its economic development, China managed to maintain steady growth while ensuring people’s wellbeing. It is now making untiring efforts to accomplish the mission of common prosperity.

China’s reform and opening-up have made sustained progress and benefited the whole world. The steady growth of the Chinese economy added strong impetus to the world economic recovery. The number of international organizations estimated that in 2021 China remained the largest contributor to global economic growth with a solid share of more than 25 percent. President Xi Jinping solemnly presented the Global Development Initiative, providing a new public good for effectively tackling post-COVID challenges and realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Global Development Initiative has been well received and supported by international organizations such as UN agencies and nearly 100 countries.

China has adhered to reform and opening up and saw foreign trade, foreign investment, and consumption, as well as the share of investment in BRI countries, hit record highs. Breakthroughs were made in multilateral and bilateral economic and trade relations. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) entered into force as scheduled, marking the largest free trade zone by far in terms of participating population and development potential. Additionally, China has applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), thus taking new steps toward openness and cooperation in the face of protectionist headwinds. This demonstrates China’s commitment to sharing with the rest of the world opportunities for its development.

China will do well only when the world does well, and vice versa. In the past year, China ensured the steady development of its economy. More importantly, it worked with its partners to stabilize the global industrial and supply chains, giving strong support for the global COVID-19 response and the world economic recovery. By the end of last year, China has provided 372 billion masks, more than 4.2 billion protective suits, 8.4 billion test reagents, and more than two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to more than 120 countries and international organizations, making China the largest supplier of COVID-19 vaccines.

The year 2022 is a crucial year for China’s march toward the second centenary goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects. President Xi Jinping once used a metaphor to describe the Chinese economy, saying that it is not a pond, but an ocean. The ocean may have its calm days, but big winds and storms are only to be expected. Big winds and storms may upset a pond, but never an ocean. Looking ahead, China will continue to work hard to keep its economy on an upward path and boost global development with its growth. China is ready to work with Sudan and other countries to share opportunities and tide over difficulties for a shared future.

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