Construction workers level the surface of a road in Kenya’s Marsabit district being built by China Wu Yi Co Ltd. [Photo/Xinhua]
China’s policy of reform and opening-up in the past four decades has not only brought great social and economic achievements to the country, but also proved beneficial to the whole world, scholars said.
The country’s development model offers Africa an alternative way of modernization, said Anzetse Were, an independent economic consultant based in Kenya.
She said the model is unique and unexpectedly fueled the meteoritic rise of the Chinese economy that resulted in more than 800 million people having been lifted out of poverty.
“Countries that have followed China’s political and economic model are already recording socio-economic success,” Were said, singling out Rwanda and Ethiopia.
“I know these countries are not devoid of challenges, but there are some good practices that are being implemented here that are good indications of models Africa can adopt and develop to suit their own environments,” she said.
The two East African Nations are among the fastest developing countries predicted by the World Bank in 2018. Ethiopia has consistently recorded annual growth of up to 8 percent in the past three years and its economy is predicted to have surpassed Kenya’s this year.
The independent economist noted that China’s approach showed that industrialization is deliberate and conscious.” A mixed model is preferable where the government makes direct efforts to shore up infrastructure and create a more conducive environment by implementing taxes and incentives to encourage both the domestic and foreign investments. This is unlike the Washington Consensus that advocates for a hands-off market approach,” Were added.
Besides fueling industrialization in China, the reforms and opening-up process also spurred the commodity market in Africa, she said.
“The cooling-off of China’s economy offers an opportunity for Africa to develop its industrialization process. The continent’s intra-trade is still fairly low and this offers a huge opportunity for Africa to develop and consume its own products. China has shown its willingness to assist in shoring up the infrastructure deficit, which is an economic driver, but it is left for the continent to develop an ecosystem around it,” Were said.
Moreover, China’s re-orientation of its economy from export to internal consumption offers Africa access to this market. “For such a big economy to maintain a growth of 6.5 percent is still incredible. This means a burgeoning middle class resulting in increased demand. Africa can tap into this.”
Joseph Matthews, director of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Education Center, said in an interview that China’s opening-up policy is beneficial to all countries including Cambodia.
Matthews, also a professor at the Beltei International University in Phnom Penh, said China’s economic development in the past four decades was a great inspiration for the least developed countries such as Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
“If China can transform its passive and locally driven economy into a vibrant and diverse economy through consistent reforms and expansion, other countries can also do it by following the economic model of China,” he said.
The professor said the most impressive feature of China’s economic success story is that the country is always willing to share its prosperity, technology and wealth with its neighbors as well as underdeveloped countries in Africa and elsewhere.
He also said that the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China offers new opportunities for global growth.
Commenting on the proposed inclusion of “building a community with a shared future for humanity” in the Constitution during the two sessions in Beijing, he said it truly reflected China’s commitment to building a world of peace and prosperity.