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Liu Yongfu's speech at the FOCAC Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development Conference,August 14, 2018 Adjust font size:

The FOCAC Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development Conference, a high-profile sub-forum hosted by the China State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development(LGOP) under the framework of the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), was held on Aug. 14, 2018 in Beijing. 

Liu Yongfu, minister of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, delivered a speech at the conference. The full text of the speech is as follows:

Respected Commissioner Josefa, Minister Nonofo, Minister Wong Yen Cheong, vice ministers and representatives of African countries, Respected delegates, representatives of international organizations, Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

First of all, on behalf of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, I would like to extend sincere welcome to all African friends from afar, and gratitude to Chinese and overseas delegates attending this conference. Welcome to the Poverty Reduction and Development Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation 2018! I am more than happy to have the opportunity to gather with old and new friends, share poverty reduction experience and discuss poverty reduction cooperation.  

Ladies and gentlemen, friends,

China is the most populous developing country, and the CPC and Chinese government are dedicated to eliminating poverty and improving people’s livelihood. 40 years ago, China started the great process of Reforming and Opening Up, and actively explores a poverty reduction path with Chinese characteristics. We stick to the CPC’s leadership, Reform and Opening Up, the basic strategy of targeted poverty reduction, a development-oriented poverty reduction path, the integration of inclusive policies and exclusive preferential policies and the participation of the whole society, so as to build a greater poverty reduction pattern driven by the government, the society and the market altogether. With forty years of efforts, we have solved the problem of food and clothing for 1.3 billion people, our people have walked from a deficient life to an affluent one and marched from poverty to a well-off society, and 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty. China’s achievements are a huge contribution to global poverty reduction. 

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the CPC Central Committee with General Secretary Xi Jinping as the core has centered on the people, taken the elimination of poverty as a basic task for realizing a well-off society on all fronts, and made the great decision of winning the battle against poverty.  

First, specifying the goals and tasks. We proposed that by 2020, we would lift all rural poor population by existing standards out of poverty, achieve poverty reduction in all poor counties and get rid of regional overall poverty. Realizing this goal means that China will generally eliminate absolute poverty, and realize the poverty reduction goal set by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years in advance. 

Second, utilizing the institutional advantages. We stick to the leadership of the CPC and the system where the central government makes overall plans, the provincial governments take general responsibilities and municipal and county governments focus on implementation. The party committee secretaries and governors of 22 provinces in central and western China have signed liability statements with the central government and made pledges to fulfill their duty and provide political guarantee for the battle against poverty. 

Third, establishing basic strategies. We take targeted poverty reduction as our basic strategy, strive to achieve precise targets, projects, capital use, measures, specific places and effects, and carry out poverty reduction through industrial development, employment, relocation, eco-compensation and education improvement. We take differentiated measures based on local conditions and targeted measures for villages, households and individuals, and strive to solve the problems of “who to receive support, who to provide support, how to support and how to exit”.  

Fourth, increasing capital input. From 2012 to 2018, the special poverty reduction fund earmarked by the central government increased by 21.7% on a yearly basis, and the special poverty reduction fund earmarked by financial departments under the provincial level grew by 30% on a yearly basis. Financial poverty reduction funds and private poverty reduction funds grew significantly.  

Fifth, implementing important measures. We take demand and problems as the main guide, carry out poverty recognition, establish files for poor villages and households, achieve IT-based management, assign support teams to each poor village and designate responsible persons for each poor household to lay the foundation for targeted poverty reduction. We adopt the most strict examination and evaluation system to ensure that our poverty reduction results can withstand the test of practice and history. 

Sixth, establishing a greater poverty reduction pattern. We build interaction between the government, the market and the society and link industrial poverty reduction, special poverty reduction and social poverty reduction. We organize advanced areas in the east to aid less developed areas in the west, organize SOEs to participate in the “One Hundred Counties and Ten Thousand Villages” aid campaign, mobilize private enterprises to launch the “Ten Thousand Enterprises Aid Ten Thousand Villages” campaign, and mobilize private organizations and citizens to participate in poverty reduction.   

Seventh, arousing endogenous power. We give play to the public in underprivileged areas as the main participants of poverty reduction, enhance their self-development capacity and sense of gain, and enable them to rely on themselves, work hard, actively develop production and get rid of poverty with their own hands. 

Eighth, enhancing international poverty reduction exchanges and cooperation. We have carried out China-Africa, China-Latin America and China-ASEAN poverty reduction cooperation, and cooperate with international organizations such as the UN to share poverty reduction experience and achieve common development. 

After 5 years of hard work, China’s poverty reduction work has made decisive progress and realized the best achievements in the history of poverty reduction in China. 

Over the past 5 years, the scale of poverty in China shrank markedly. The rural poor population decreased from 98.99 million in 2012 to 30.46 million in 2017, a total decrease of 68.53 million and an annual decrease of 13.7 million. Poverty incidence decreased from 10.2% to 3.1%. We have made steady progress towards eliminating absolute poverty. 

Over the past 5 years, the situation of poor areas has improved significantly. In 2017, the per-capita disposable income of rural residents in poor areas reached 9377 yuan (about 1400 dollars), an increase of over 50% compared with that in 2013, and the gap between this per-capita disposable income and the national rural average was further narrowed. Infrastructure and public service in needy areas improved dramatically, and the living standard of the poor population improved notably.

Over the past 5 years, the poverty reduction system with Chinese characteristics has basically taken shape. We have established a responsibility system with each part performing their own responsibilities; a work system for precise identification and targeted poverty reduction; a unified and coordinated policy system with unison between the higher and lower levels of government; an investment system that guarantees funds and enhances human resources; a support system that takes targeted measures based on local conditions; a social mobilization system with wide participation and joint efforts; a multi-channel and all-round supervision system and the most strict examination and evaluation system

Looking into the future, poverty reduction work in China still faces much pressure. There is an imbalance between rural and urban areas and between regions, and 30 million people are still to be lifted out of poverty, and these are tough challenges. The further poverty reduction work goes, the higher the cost is, and the tougher the tasks are. In October, 2017, the 19th CPC National Congress declared that socialism with Chinese characteristics had entered a new era. The CPC Central Committee takes targeted poverty reduction as one of the three critical battles for realizing a well-off society, and has made new action plans and proposed new requirements. In the next 3 years, we will stick to the basic strategy of targeted poverty reduction, focus on areas in deep poverty and special poor groups, stimulate poor people’s endogenous power, improve their sense of gain, realize the goal of lifting 30 million people out of poverty in 3 years, and ensure that the poor areas and poor people can enter the well-off society with other areas and citizens by 2020.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends, 

China grew from a poor and weak country to the second largest economy because of our people’s hard work and diligence. Africa has a vast territory and abundant resources. As a continent with the youngest population structure, Africa has huge population potential, and how to transform this potential into sustained momentum for future development is key to African development. Chinese people and African people share similar historical experience and development tasks and inter-connected spiritual pursuit. Poverty reduction experience sharing between China and Africa is of immense practical significance.

In order to enhance China-Africa poverty reduction knowledge and experience sharing, since 2005, we have utilized the International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC) as the platform and convened 8 China-Africa Poverty Reduction and Development Conference, and this year’s conference is the 9th. 5 of the 8 previous conferences were held in Africa, (two in Ethiopia, three in Tanzania, South Africa and Mauritius respectively),and over 1000 poverty reduction policy makers and practitioners from over 50 African countries attended the conferences. The conferences focused on China-Africa poverty reduction experience sharing, agricultural modernization and poverty reduction, infrastructure and poverty reduction, special economic zones and poverty reduction and industrial development and poverty reduction, and reached broad consensuses. We have held 133 poverty reduction seminars and shared poverty reduction experience with 3587 poverty reduction practitioners from 133 countries and regions, including 2122 representatives from 52 African countries. At the same time, considering the important role of youths in African development, we have held three China-Africa Youth Exchange Programs on Poverty Reduction and Development to further enhance Chinese and African youths’ understanding of poverty reduction and strengthen their friendship through discussion and field visits. 

Ladies and gentlemen, friends, 

China has been a firm supporter of Africa’s national independence, and China attaches great importance to the development of China-Africa relationship. Back in the 1960s, Premier Zhou Enlai visited Africa three times and proposed the five principles for China-Africa relation development and the eight principles for foreign aid, which laid a solid foundation for China-Africa relation development. In recent years, frequent high-level exchanges between China and Africa have been made, and the number and frequency of the exchanges are unprecedented. The exchanges have strongly promoted mutual political trust and comprehensive cooperation between China and Africa. 

President Xi Jinping has attached great importance to China-Africa relations. He chose Africa as the first destination of his state visits both after he was elected president in 2013 and his reelection this year. In December, 2015, China and Africa co-hosted the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. At the summit, President Xi gave a comprehensive and systemic introduction to the new ideas and concepts of China’s African policies, and announced to upgrade the China-Africa relation into a comprehensive strategic partnership to further enhance “Five Major Pillars” for China-Africa relations, namely equality and mutual trust in politics, win-win cooperation in the economy, mutually enriching cultural exchanges, mutual assistance in security and solidarity, and coordination in international affairs. President Xi also proposed the “Ten Key Cooperation Plans” driven by industrialization and agricultural modernization, and decided that China would provide 60 billion dollars for the ten plans. The China-Africa Poverty Reduction and People's Welfare Plan is one of the ten plans. 

In May, 2014, Premier Li Keqiang visited the headquarters of the African Union at the invitation, and proposed to promote six China-Africa cooperation projects, improve the platform of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and develop an upgraded version of China-Africa cooperation. The poverty reduction cooperation project is one of the six projects. China and Africa have fully communicated on enhancing poverty reduction cooperation, reached important consensuses and published the Outline on Strengthening Poverty Reduction Cooperation between China and the African Union. Premier Li Keqiang pointed out that “poverty is the common enemy of human and poverty reduction is the priority for people’s livelihood. We are willing to share poverty reduction experience with African countries.”

There is an ancient Chinese saying that goes, when you reap fruits, you should remember the tree; when you drink water, you should remember its source. China’s development has been possible because of the world, and China has contributed to the world’s development. In 2013, President Xi proposed the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to develop a community of common destiny featuring the connectivity of policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people. 

Over the past 5 years, the Belt and Road Initiative is developing from a vision to a reality. Over 100 countries and international organizations, including African countries, have participated in it. A large batch of cooperation programs have been implemented, the infrastructure connectivity network has taken preliminary shape, industrial cooperation along the Belt and Road has gained momentum, policy coordination between countries has been enhanced, and people have benefited from the cooperation. Over the past 5 years, the total trade volume between China and countries along the Belt and Road reached 5 trillion dollars, total investment added up to 70 billion dollars, and over 200,000 jobs have been created locally. Facts prove that jointly building the Belt and Road is a mutually beneficial path towards social and economic development, poverty elimination and common development. 

African countries are not only the natural extension of the Belt and Road, but also important participants of the Belt and Road Initiative. The Belt and Road Initiative takes infrastructure connectivity and capacity cooperation as main cooperation areas, which fit in with the goals of Africa’s Agenda 2063. The Belt and Road Initiative can inject strong momentum into Africa’s industrialization, urbanization and agricultural modernization, and bring new opportunities for China-Africa poverty reduction cooperation.

Ladies and gentlemen, friends,

This September, the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will be convened. The summit will combine China and Africa’s joint development of the Belt and Road, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 of the African Union with development strategies of African countries, and launch new strategies and measures for enhancing China-Africa comprehensive cooperation to create new opportunities and space for China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership. Our poverty reduction and development conference comes at the right moment before the summit. This conference takes “Belt and Road and China-Africa Poverty Reduction Cooperation” as the theme, focuses on core topics related to social and economic development in China and Africa and conforms to President Xi’s proposal to jointly develop “a community of common destiny with common development and no poverty”.

China is still faced with the heavy task of lifting 30 million poor people out of poverty, and Africa’s poverty reduction task is also tough. Eliminating poverty and achieving sustainable development is the shared goal and historic task of Chinese and African people. Actively carrying out poverty reduction exchanges and cooperation is an important way to promote development experience sharing, achieve common development and develop the China-Africa community of common destiny. China and Africa have both accumulated a lot of good experience and practices during their development and poverty reduction work. We are willing to continue to communicate with African friends, learn from each other and jointly promote the development of poverty reduction in China and Africa. In this regard, we should enhance communication in the following areas.

First, enhancing poverty reduction exchanges. We should establish the China-Africa poverty reduction dialogue and cooperation mechanism to promote China-Africa poverty reduction cooperation. We should continue to host the Poverty Reduction and Development Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the China-Africa Youth Exchange Programs on Poverty Reduction and Development to enhance poverty reduction experience sharing. 

Second, conducting poverty reduction research. We will carry out joint research with African countries and relevant research institutions to discuss effective measures on poverty reduction, jointly develop intellectual products on poverty reduction and contribute Chinese wisdom to global poverty reduction. 

Third, enhancing youth talent development. The key to poverty elimination is action. As the youngest continent, by 2025, Africa will have 200 million young adults aged between 15 and 24, and a quarter of young adults aged below 25 will be African. Africa’s workforce increases by 10 million annually. As an old saying goes, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. We will continue to host poverty reduction policy and practice seminars and help African countries develop poverty reduction talents based on their needs. At the same time, we will innovate the training models and provide training in Africa to improve its effect.

Fourth, cooperating to carry out poverty reduction demonstration projects. We will cooperate with African countries to discuss and implement poverty reduction demonstration projects and provide poverty reduction demonstration and technical support for African countries 

There is an Africa proverb that goes, if you want to go fast, walk alone; and if you want to go far, walk together. We also have a Chinese proverb that goes, a tall building is not built with the wood of a single tree; the vast ocean is not formed with the water from a single river. To realize the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development, China and other developing countries, including African countries, should make joint efforts. China is willing to join hands with all African countries, learn from each other, make practical innovations, promote poverty reduction exchanges and cooperation and strive to realize the vision of poverty elimination.

In the end, I wish this conference a full success!

Thank you!

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