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Ambassador ZHOU Pingjian: "China's Promise 2020: Prospects for China-Nigeria Cooperation"
2017/06/29
  On June 29, Nigerian leading newspaper DAILY TRUST published an article titled China's Promise 2020: Prospects for China-Nigeria Cooperation written by Ambassador of China to Nigeria Dr.ZHOU Pingjian. The full text goes as follows:

"China always believes that the 21st century belongs as much to Asia as to Africa and all the developing countries."emphasized Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the just-concluded China-Africa High-Level Dialogue and Think Tank Forum on Fighting Against Poverty for Common Prosperity in Addis Ababa, " China and Africa need to join hands in fighting poverty and achieving common development. This is our responsibility to the future generations, the shared objective of Chinese and African people and the inherent part of human progress."

"China and Africa were united in their determination to eliminate poverty. China's success story in poverty reduction was substantially a good lesson that Africa is keen to learn from."said Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat on the forum.

During this forum, the book, Up and Out of Poverty, which records the thinking and actions of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the area of poverty reduction when he worked in Ningde, Fujian Province, enjoyed wide attention and great popularity. The thoughts, ideas and policies laid out in the book like "poverty alleviation requires a change of attitude and the support of education", "developing the economy is our political priority", "the weak hatchling bird can be the first to take flight", and "equal importance to growing the economy and keeping the government clean" were not only key to Ningde's success in poverty reduction and development, but were also an epitome of the whole country's successful experience in reform and opening-up. Today, these thoughts continue to guide China in meeting its poverty reduction targets and are highly relevant for other developing countries in their poverty reduction efforts.

China has successfully lifted over 700 million out of poverty in the past 40 years and contributed 70% to the UN Millennium Development Goal on poverty reduction, creating a miracle in the world development history. In 1949 when the People's Republic of China was founded, China's GDP was only $18.9 billion, while per capita GDP was $35. China was labeled as one of world's poorest countries at that time. In 1978 when China embarked on its reform and opening-up, its GDP and per capita GDP reached $216.8 billion and $227 respectively, while in 2016 jumped over $10 trillion and $8000 respectively. Additionally, China's average life expectancy increased from merely 35 years in 1949 to 76.34 years in 2015.

Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, China has blazed an extraordinary path of poverty reduction that not only meets our unique national conditions, but leverages our comparative advantages. By giving full play to everyone's strength of over 1.3 billion people, designing tailor-made policies based on local conditions and pursing opening-up and cooperation, China has made the seemly impossible task of poverty reduction possible.

The CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core has made the solemn commitment to build China into a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020 when the CPC celebrates its centenary, and eliminating poverty across the country is one of the important preconditions. Poverty reduction is one of the "ten cooperation plans" announced by President Xi at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in December 2015, which echoes the urgent needs of African countries. At the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation successfully held last month in Beijing, President Xi advocated realizing common development and prosperity and building a community of shared future for mankind, injecting fresh impetus to and opened up new vista for China-Africa cooperation.

According to National Bureau of Statistics of Nigeria, no fewer than 112million Nigerians live below poverty level, while more than 40 million Chinese need to be lifted out of poverty to fulfill China's Promise 2020 of eliminating poverty. The common daunting task will hold China and Nigeria together and open new prospects for the increasingly strengthened China-Nigeria strategic partnership.

China will step up the sharing of governance experience with Nigeria without any reservation by maintaining regular high-level exchange of visits and expanding links between governments, political parties and states or provinces, with a view to jointly exploring a pathway out of poverty and toward prosperity as needed by Nigeria.There is no one-size-fits-all method or panacea to erase poverty. Facing poverty and its collateral challenges, we cannot mechanically copy but flexibly learn from others' successful experience.

Development is the "master key" to solving all problems. China will further synergize development strategies sincerely and deepen practical cooperation with Nigeria enormously. Ultimately, whether Nigeria's Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020) or China's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) and supply-side structural reform, they are all designed to satisfy our peoples' wish for a good life. In this vein, China-Nigeria practical cooperation in such areas as agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure, minerals and human resources has served and will always serve the primary task of development of Nigeria. Like the examples of Wempco, Lee Group, CGCOC or CCECC, they have rooted in Nigeria for several decades and created tens of thousands of local jobs, playing their due role in Nigeria's efforts of poverty reduction .

As president Xi stressed, "We shouldn't leave any poverty-stricken families or individuals behind on the way out of poverty". Let's work together to strengthen coordination and cooperation to fight against poverty, strive for common prosperity, and jointly embrace a brighter future.

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