The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the economic growth of almost every country, plunging them into recession. However, China is the only country that recorded positive economic growth last year at 2.3%.
China achieved one of its two centennial goals by becoming a moderately prosperous society last year. Other projections indicate that its economy will overtake that of the United States as the world’s largest five years ahead of schedule.
Early last year, China imposed strict measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, including a total lockdown in major cities, nationwide travel restrictions, social distancing and a mandatory quarantine of 14 days for people returning to China from other countries.
These measures caused the economy to contract 6.8% in the first quarter of last year. However, in mid-February last year, the spread of COVID-19 was reduced due to the strict measures and economic activities resumed. It is thus argued that one of the reasons why the Chinese economy has recovered is the result of having controlled COVID-19 sufficiently early.
It should also be noted that at the end of last year, China eliminated absolute poverty, with more than 800 million people lifted out of poverty in four decades.
In 1945, China’s GDP per capita was among the lowest in the world. Yet within a generation, China has become the world’s second-largest economy. This achievement has become a great source of inspiration for developing countries to be confident that poverty can be eradicated in a generation with committed and visionary leadership, enabling economic policies and a patriotic, hardworking and supportive population.
China is the first country to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goal for poverty reduction in a record 10 years. For the African continent in particular, China’s victory over absolute poverty offers a great lesson in hope for overcoming poverty, which is one of the main aspirations of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the goals of the African Union. sustainable development of the United Nations.
At the policy-making level, advanced industrial manufacturing has been seen as one of the pillars of economic growth. New concepts of innovation development, coordination and green and open shared development have been adopted.
Green development embraces harmony between nature and humanity, while a project like the Belt and Road Initiative is a good example of China’s open development concept, which prioritizes ‘interaction between China and the international community, and shared development for social equality and justice. This presents a unique philosophy of the prospects for global economic development, putting humanity at the center of development.
In November, China announced an extension of debt relief worth $ 2.1 billion to developing countries as part of the G20. This would help those countries make ends meet with the economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the Export-Import Bank, together with the China International Development Cooperation Agency, suspended debt service worth $ 1.35 billion for 23 countries.
China’s economic model and record in social inclusion and development are admirable and have yielded results for the country’s development.
According to the latest foreign trade data released by the General Administration of Customs of China, the country’s foreign trade increased 1.9% year-on-year to 32.16 trillion yuan ($ 4.98 trillion ) Last year. Its exports grew 4% year-on-year and its trade surplus jumped 27.4% to 3.7 trillion yuan.
On many other fronts like innovation, artificial intelligence, and 5G technology, China has made remarkable progress globally. China’s rise to power and its influence on global economic development is not only impressive but unstoppable.
The author is the founder of Africa-China Review, a publication of the Africa-China think tank, and a researcher and editor on China-Africa cooperation.