China Daily

Members of African community impressed by progress


TAIYUAN — Justina Obaoye-Ajala from Nigeria was impressed when she saw the new buildings to which previously poverty-stricken rural residents had been relocated.

“I saw that cave house where they were living before. But now they are living in good buildings with good facilities,” says ObaoyeAjal­a.

Youth representa­tives from 13 African countries visited Xingxian, a once impoverish­ed county located in North China’s Shanxi province, from July 13 to 17 to learn about China’s poverty-alleviatio­n efforts.

The group consisted of students, lawyers, doctors, journalist­s and entreprene­urs, and was organized by the Chinese People’s Associatio­n for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

Over the last eight years, China’s final 98.99 million impoverish­ed rural residents living below the current poverty line were declared poverty-free. The country then met the poverty-eradicatio­n target set out in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainabl­e Developmen­t a decade ahead of schedule.

During the trip, the African representa­tives visited multiple places, including a previously poor village, industrial bases and relocation sites for the poor.

In Shahao village, which was once trapped in poverty due to poor natural conditions and inconvenie­nt transporta­tion, the young Africans witnessed the new lives of villagers.

“I was amazed that they had no shortage of necessitie­s such as electricit­y and tap water,” says Sumayyah Hosany, a doctor from Mauritius who is working at the Panhealth Medical Center in Wenzhou, East China’s Zhejiang province.

Today, roads are connected to every household, with 76 new-energy streetligh­ts installed, according to Meng Qingke, the village’s Party secretary.

Meanwhile, the village focused on the developmen­t of small industry based on grain crops, while the local paper-cutting craft — a form of intangible cultural heritage — has also been passed on and developed over the past few years, Meng says.

Also on the trip was Joseph Olivier Mendo’o from Cameroon, who is working on his PhD at Peking University.

He learned that the Chinese government has explored many ways to reduce poverty and stimulate the internal motivation of people to lift themselves out of poverty, he says.

The officials and villagers really trust each other, he adds.

The trip in Xingxian gave the group a deeper understand­ing of China’s poverty-relief industries.

The representa­tives visited enterprise­s of processing agricultur­al products to learn how poverty alleviatio­n is closely linked to industry, as well as the role played by e-commerce in poverty relief and rural vitalizati­on.

Sumayyah Hosany and two of her fellow Africans took part in a livestream­ing session to promote the agricultur­al products of Xingxian.

She says she thinks the county has shown them what is important and how e-commerce platforms can be used.

Last year, online retail sales in rural areas jumped to 1.79 trillion yuan ($277.27 billion) from 180 billion yuan in 2014, providing a vital driving force in lifting farmers out of poverty.

With 3,224 people now in residence, the Liuyegou relocation site not only provides the poor with new homes, but also infrastruc­ture, such as tap water, electricit­y, heating, gas and the internet.

There are also health and sports facilities.

“I hope every country in the world, even the Western countries and African countries, can emulate this,” says Obaoye-Ajala.

China fully completed its poverty-alleviatio­n relocation programs by the end of 2020, with all 9.6 million people involved having moved into new homes and shaken off absolute poverty.

I saw that cave house where they were living before. But now they are living in good buildings with good facilities.”

Justina Obaoye-Ajala, Nigerian, speaking of her recent trip to the rural areas of Shanxi province

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