Partnerships among equals

China Daily by Dr. Qu Sixi, August 09, 2022
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China has a wealth of successful poverty alleviation experience that it can share through South-South Cooperation

Poverty eradication has always been one of the major global challenges and an indispensable requirement for global development. More than 700 million people-or about 10 percent of the global population-still live in extreme poverty. These figures will continue to rise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic alongside the ongoing impacts of conflicts, food inflation and climate change, making the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda more difficult.

Despite the challenges, as the largest developing country with 1.4 billion population, China completely eradicated extreme poverty in 2020, greatly accelerating the global anti-poverty process by significantly reducing the size of the world's population living in poverty. The success of China's anti-poverty campaign is an important contribution to the global poverty reduction cause. Meanwhile, China explores and shares applicable approaches for poverty alleviation, which could be transferred and applied to other developing countries through South-South Cooperation.

South-South Cooperation is a partnership among equals, which usually involves a learning process or transfer of expertise to develop skills and capabilities. It aims at promoting solidarity, mutual benefit, learning and innovation among developing countries whose characteristics, challenges and opportunities are similar.

Capacity strengthening activities, such as technology transfer, the sharing of solutions and expertise, and other exchanges of China's successful experience and technology are welcome by other developing countries. China has a wealth of poverty alleviation experience-such as government-led programs, broad social participation, policy innovation, an excellent monitoring and evaluation mechanism, and emphasis on science and technology innovation-that can be widely shared.

As the largest humanitarian United Nations agency, the World Food Programme has been accompanying China on its development journey for more than 40 years. The WFP has been the historical witness, active participant and faithful contributor to China's development and prosperity, and is now one of the UN agencies actively involved in South-South Cooperation.

Facilitating South-South Cooperation is a way to expand the WFP's engagement with developing countries to help end hunger, achieve food security and support rural transformation.

The WFP Centre of Excellence for Rural Transformation has stepped up its commitment to support South-South Cooperation since 2016. Through policy dialogue, technical support and knowledge management, the WFP China COE actively introduces China's experience in poverty reduction, especially the innovative approaches taken by the government and all walks of society in poverty reduction, in order to provide ideas and reference for other developing countries.

The WFP China COE also actively supports field demonstrations at the country level in 19 countries of the Global South. These pilot projects focus on an innovative poverty alleviation initiative by tapping into China's successful experience to address food security and nutrition challenges for resilience building and food systems strengthening.

In Cote d'Ivoire, the rice sector is facing challenges such as the low-level application of technical itineraries, poor mechanization, and up to 40 percent of production is wasted due to poor processing and storage capacity. To address these challenges, the WFP China COE launched the China-Africa Rice Value Chain Development Initiative in March 2021, with stakeholders from China and Cote d'Ivoire. In responding to regional and local development demands and priorities, a demonstration site was established in the local community in northern Cote d'Ivoire and three types of equipment were purchased.


China-Africa Rice Value Chain Development Initiative (Photo courtesy of WFP China COE )

Meanwhile, Chinese experts from Henan University of Technology were invited to give lectures on rice processing, storage and post-harvest loss management. A total of 614 local smallholders and their households joined this project and benefited from the technology transfer from the field demonstration and technical trainings. 

Besides, a China-Africa Rice Value Chain Development Synergy was formed to build a regular exchange mechanism between researchers and stakeholders in China and Africa, and enhance the partnership in the rice value chain.

Under the current circumstances, it is all the more important to uphold mutual assistance and boost South-South Cooperation through multilateral platforms to empower the developing countries in their efforts to eliminate poverty. It is foreseeable that with China's further development, there is still huge space and great potential for multistakeholder participation to further enhance South-South Cooperation. The WFP will give full play to its role as a multilateral institution, continue to expand partnerships and promote innovative cooperation, contributing to China's rural revitalization, and work with China to help other developing countries achieve zero hunger and no poverty.


About the author: Dr. Qu Sixi, Representative of the World Food Program in China

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