September 27, 2017 marked the 68th anniversary of the formation of the People’s Republic of China. The China poverty rate has seen unprecedented lows both within China and across the world. As of 2017, the Chinese government can say they lifted over 700 million people out of poverty and facilitated an increase in GDP from $18.9 billion to $11.2 trillion since the formation of the republic.
By 2015, China had achieved all the Millennium Development Goals and had contributed to the achievement of the goals in other nations. Despite all this growth, however, China is still considered a developing country in need of reform. There are still 55 million people in poverty in rural parts of the country, and the rapid economic growth has actually caused a number of problems.
There are high levels of inequality, as well as a lack of environmental sustainability, that China needs to deal with quickly. They also face an aging population and other social concerns. The biggest challenge for China right now is balancing their economic growth with environmental protection and social issues. The World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Strategy, which was created to help China prioritize certain areas of growth, has three main areas of improvement. These are supporting greener growth, promoting more inclusive development and advancing mutually beneficial relations with the world.
The goals of the Country Partnership Strategy were aligned with China’s 13th Five-Year-Plan, which is a very positive step. Environmental policy has not been China’s strong suit, but the World Bank’s focus has shifted to about 70 percent environmental sustainability, forcing China to take certain steps in that direction.
China has been partnered with the World Bank since 1990, and was originally receiving money from the International Development Association (IDA), which is the Bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries. In 1999, China “graduated” from IDA, and less than 10 years later began contributing to the fund to aid other poor countries. The partnership with the World Bank has been helpful not only for the China poverty rate, but particularly for cleaning up the environmental damage that was sustained through such vigorous industrial and economic growth. The Bank has successfully carried out projects with the government such as cleaning up China’s polluted rivers and creating eco-farms.
Ultimately, the World Bank cannot facilitate all the change China needs to see. Even more reductions in poverty need to be made and a lot of policy needs to be enacted in terms of environmental protection. China is on the right track and has seen some of the largest growth of all developing countries, but it is time for the country to focus less on economic growth and more on social and environmental issues.
– Liyanga De Silva