The Express Tribune
Published Date: Oct 14, 2019
Poverty alleviation must be central to all development
As Pakistan looks to the ‘China model’ to bring millions out of poverty, Islamabad was advised to change its thinking by keeping poverty alleviation central to all development and taking a patient and holistic approach towards the problem.
“Over the past 30 years, consistency in policies, flexibility in developmental frameworks for different regions and putting poverty alleviation central to overall comprehensive development agenda were the key three reasons to help eradicate poverty in China,” advised Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing on Thursday.
He was addressing a seminar titled ‘Celebrating 70 years of China’s achievements in poverty eradication’. The seminar had been organised by the China Study Center (CSC) of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
The ambassador pointed out that China’s much-touted transformation did not come overnight nor was it created in isolation. “In China, poverty eradication was not just an isolated effort of the government, but part of an overall comprehensive development strategy,” he said, adding, “comprehensive development strategy of China is not confined to growth rate only, but it is meant to include education, health, environmental protection, social security and high-quality development.”
Jing went on to say that the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is entering its second phase where both countries are now focusing on industrial cooperation, agricultural cooperation, and socio-economic development.
“Under social cooperation, we are focusing on six areas including health, education, water, agriculture, poverty eradication and human resource development,” he said, adding that around 27 different projects in these six areas of cooperation will be implemented.
Parliamentary Secretary for Planning Development and Reform Kanwal Shauzab said China not only miraculously lifted a substantial chunk of its population out of poverty but also become a hub of technology and innovation in the world because it educated its people with advanced technical skills and education.
“There is a dire need to educate and equip our young generation with modern technical skills as per the demand of changing development paradigm,” she said.
Pakistan also needs a paradigm shift in the education system to help fight poverty, she stressed.
Commenting on Prime Minister’s ‘Model Langar Khana’, she said this initiative was meant to draw attention towards the pressing issue of hunger and poverty in society.
On creating jobs, Shauzab said that the government is trying to facilitate the private sector by providing an enabling environment for business to grow and resultant employment generation. She said that entrepreneurship culture in the country should be encouraged and facilitated.
“We all need to work together to empower our children, their families and communities to help reduce poverty,” said SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri.
“Our social protection policies should also incorporate the needs of our children, especially the girl child, to help eradicate poverty in a society,” he said, adding that children are our future; therefore, every single child should have access to quality education, health and a peaceful and secure environment, where they can grow without fear of any coercion.
Zalmi Foundation Executive Director Shakeel Ahmad Ramay hailed China’s inclusive decisions made by engaging local communities and making them part of development strategies on its way to eradicating poverty.