China will help African countries train more young talent in poverty relief as part of its effort to strength exchanges under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, a senior official said on Aug 14.
The country will continue to hold training sessions on poverty reduction tailored to African countries, and will innovate in training methods to ensure the effort delivers real benefits, according to Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.
“China and African countries have accumulated rich experience in self-development and poverty reduction. China is willing to strengthen exchanges with African countries to benefit both parties,” he said.
Liu was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Poverty Reduction and Development Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation 2018 in Beijing on Aug 14.
Present were government officials, scholars and entrepreneurs from 40 African countries and officials from international organizations. The discussions focused on opportunities created by the Belt and Road Initiative in poverty alleviation cooperation between China and Africa.
Liu said training for young professionals is crucial.
“By 2025, Africa will be home to 200 million young people aged between 15 and 24, and a quarter of the world’s population aged below 25 will be from Africa,” he said. “Every year, 10 million Africans join the workforce.”
China has held 133 poverty reduction seminars and shared its experience with 3,587 poverty reduction practitioners from 133 countries and regions, including 2,122 representatives from 52 countries in Africa, Liu said.
China also will conduct research with Africa in the sector and help carry out successful projects, he said.
The Belt and Road Initiative — proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013 — has contributed a great deal to the poverty reduction exchanges, Liu said.
“African countries are not only the natural extension of the Belt and Road, but also important participants in the initiative,” he said, adding it can inject strong momentum into Africa’s industrialization, urbanization and agricultural modernization.
Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, commissioner for rural economy and agriculture of the African Union, said at the opening ceremony that the agricultural sector has great potential for China-Africa cooperation.
She said that despite vast arable land and a growing workforce, low agricultural productivity has been hampering the continent’s development, contributing to poverty.
“Africa is eager to learn from China in agriculture and natural resources management, and cooperation in the sector is of mutual benefit,” she said.
She said investments in and partnerships with African research institutes and universities will accelerate agricultural transformation at country and regional levels.
China has reduced extreme poverty by more than two-thirds over the past five years, officials said. It has pledged to eradicate extreme poverty in China by the end of 2020.