China’s economic transformation and its success in poverty alleviation offers valuable lessons for Africa as it tries to attain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a senior United Nations official said Wednesday.
In an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of the Sixth African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development currently underway in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Vera Songwe said enhancing intra-regional trade in Africa is key to attaining SDGs.
Adopted by all UN member states in 2015, SDGs aim to address global challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.
Songwe said intra-regional trade played a significant role in China’s economic transformation, adding that trade between and among African countries has the greatest potential for building sustainable economic development and regional integration.
“Before China exported outside of the region it exported inside the region. So it first developed trade with East Asia, and then went out into the West, into Europe and the United States,” she said.
“Today Africa trades with itself at 17 percent. East Asia is at 68 percent. If Africa could trade 68 percent among itself, it would create jobs, it would create the kind of resources that are needed to grow our economies as fast as China did,” Songwe said.
She said in order to attain sustainable development, Africa needs to develop a robust financial sector.
“The way China did was to develop its financial sector. Today Africa does not have deep financial sector, so a lot of our development is dependent on tax collection.
“We need to use our pension funds. We need to use our insurance schemes. We need to use more collateral on investments that we have,” Songwe said. Enditem