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China lifting 800 million people out of poverty is historic: World Bank

Friday, Oct 13, 2017,11:56 IST By anju A A A

Washington | China lifting more than 800 million people out of poverty since the start of its economic reform is a “great story in human history”, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said today, underlining that there is “lessons to be learned” from this Chinese experience.

“This is one of the great stories in human history, frankly,” Kim told reporters at the start of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Starting in 1990 with the evolution of the Chinese economic system and its embrace of the global market China has lifted over 800 million out of poverty, he said.

“So, most of the progress that’s been made in going from 40 per cent of the world living in extreme poverty to now less than 10 per cent…most of that progress happened in China.

So, we’re always looking for the lessons from that experience and it continues,” Kim said in response to a question.

The World Bank, he said, has been working very closely with China on things like ensuring that some of the more distant regions in China are also getting access to social services and healthcare.

“It is working right now on a pilot project on healthcare system. If it works out it could lead to a major change in the healthcare system that would help to improve outcomes overall,” he said.

“So, this effort has been historic. I think we’re still trying to understand exactly how 800 million people were lifted out of poverty, but it was one of the great successes,” Kim said.

The World Bank chief, however, refrained from responding to questions on the upcoming congress of China’s ruling Communist Party.

“These are internal Chinese political matters. But I think China has been pretty clear about the direction it’s going,” he noted.

A joint document that China and the bank published some time ago said that China 2030 was very clear about how it’s going to change the path of growth from focusing so much on investment and export to unfocused on services and consumption, he said.

“That’s actually happening. So, we’re encouraged that China has stayed on a course of this change from what they call rapid growth to more quality economic growth,” he said.

“While we think that the growth rate is going to remain stable in China this year we’re waiting to see what comes out of the Party Congress just like everyone else. But I don’t expect a major change in policy.

“I think, the economic growth strategy has been made clear and we’ve been watching as they’ve kept to the plan,” Kim said.