Confab on Chinese poverty reduction model held in Accra
A conference on China's Targeted Poverty Alleviation (TPA) model pilot in West Africa was yesterday held in Accra.
Participants discussed the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA’s) Ghana poverty alleviation programme based on China’s strategy.
It was organised by the IEA, in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy, and attended by Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, the academia, CSOs and some international scholars from China and the West African sub-region, among others.
Issues discussed included how Ghana and its West African counterparts can reduce poverty using the Chinese poverty alleviation model.
A former Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, commended China for significantly reducing poverty in that country.
He said no country could develop effectively without being able to feed its citizens, and asked whether "we can sustain ad infinitum feeding our children forever on foreign rice and other imported commodities".
Prof. Oquaye, who is also a distinguished scholar of the IEA, urged citizens to patronise goods produced in the country as a way of supporting efforts to address poverty.
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Dan Botwe, also said that poverty could be reduced in the country if the government architecture adhered to the directive principles of state policy as contained in the 1992 Constitution.
He said efforts must also be made to deepen the decentralisation process to accelerate the development of the country.
"When the living conditions of the people are improved, then we can say that poverty has been alleviated,” Mr Botwe added.
A Senior Scholar at the IEA, Prof. Alexander Bilson-Darku, said although the country had over the years implemented poverty alleviation initiatives such as the Programme of Action to Mitigate the Social Costs of Adjustment (PAMSCAD), Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) I & II and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme, they had not made the needed impact.
He, therefore, called for a paradigm shift in poverty alleviation strategies to realise the desired results.
The Chinese approach
The Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Lu Kun, said his country used a six-pronged approach to eradicate poverty.
They included identification of the poor, arrangement of targeted poverty programmes, utilisation of capital efficiently and taking measures to target individual households.
Other speakers at the event included the President of the Ghana Chinese Enterprise Chamber of Commerce, Yang Qin, and the Head of Survey at IEA, Samuel Manu.
While China has employed the TPA model which empowers people to take themselves out of poverty, other developing countries are still struggling to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) One.
China accomplished the task of eradicating extreme poverty in 2020, 10 years ahead of the 2030 SDG accomplishment date.
Through targeted poverty alleviation policies, more than 800 million people in China were lifted out of extreme poverty since the late 1970s, the largest global reduction in inequality in modern history.
Findings from the IEA’s research on the subject showed that China’s TPA model was built on the notion of teaching a man how to fish instead of giving him fish.
The IEA is piloting the TPA in two districts in the country — the Nsawam Adoagyir Municipality and the Accra Metropolitan Area.