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Experience in Poverty Reduction to Be Shared
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China's experience in coping with its own poverty problems will prove invaluable as the nation attempts to help alleviate poverty in Africa, said a senior anti-poverty official yesterday.


China is committed to helping Africa combat poverty and will share its experiences of bringing more than 100 million people out of absolute poverty over the past three decades, said Zhang Lei, director of the International Poverty Reduction Center in China.


As part of the effort the center will train about 300 anti-poverty officials each year with the majority of them being African.


Set up last year with the support of the United Nations and World Bank the center plans to hold two fortnight long workshops for African countries in the second half of this year.


The first will be on July 5 and aims to provide case-study opportunities for about 30 division-chief level officials from about 20 African countries. A high-ranking workshop for ministerial-level officials will follow in September.


"The most important lesson we want to share is the strong resolve of the government in reducing poverty," said Zhang, who also works for the State Council Leading Group on Poverty Alleviation.


Nearly half the population of sub-Saharan Africa lives on less than US$1 a day and their life expectancy is less than 50 years which is mainly due to armed conflicts, AIDS and inadequate health care and social services.


Along with poverty reduction aid, China has also encouraged its companies to increase investment in agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, the infrastructure and resource exploration in "the continent of opportunities."


More than 40 domestic and international experts have compiled an investment report commissioned by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).


"We expect China's investment in Africa will gallop in the coming years because China's advantages in certain sectors can meet African people's needs," said Shi Yongxiang, a leading expert on the team.


China is advanced in agricultural technology, seed cultivation and oil exploration and produces inexpensive and durable light industrial products and machinery, said Shi. Chinese enterprises were also competitive in road and railway building, telecommunications, irrigation and energy and these were exactly what many African countries needed, Shi added.


The idea from Shi’s team that China set up cutting edge agricultural technology demonstration parks in Africa has been accepted by China's highest leadership, according to sources with the NDRC.


(China Daily June 22, 2006)

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