- 25-member Executive Committee of Association of Bangladesh-China Alumni declared with a key goal to bolster Dhaka-Beijing bilateral ties
DHAKA, Bangladesh: Experts at an international webinar on October 20 urged Bangladesh to apply Chinese experiences in eliminating poverty and achieving the goal of promoting the Country to the list of developed nations by 2041.
The webinar entitled “Poverty Eradication: Experiences from Bangladesh and China” was held on the occasion of declaring a 25-member and two-year-long executive committee of the Association of Bangladesh-China Alumni (ABCA).
“Both Bangladesh and China are among the most populous countries in the world and poverty alleviation for both states is very important,” said education minister of Bangladesh, Dr. Dipu Moni, while addressing the webinar as the chief guest.
She added that Bangladesh has been learning a lot from its biggest development partner, China, in poverty alleviation. “But, at the same time other countries are learning from Bangladesh a lot on how we have progressed tremendously under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina”.
Referring to the deep-rooted ties between the two Asian nations, Moni added that people normally talk about the 46 years of diplomatic relationship between Bangladesh and China. “But I believe that the friendship between the two countries goes back at least 2,000 years”.
She appreciated the Chinese outstanding contribution in Bangladesh’s socio-economic and education sectors and urged the Asian giant to strengthen it in days to come.
Underlining the observations of some speakers, Moni said that for creating more skilled and time-befitting human resources Bangladesh is putting emphasis on technical and vocational education and training.
She welcomed the newly declared executive committee of the ABCA with Ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad as President of the association and Professor Dr. Shahabul Haque as general secretary.
Meanwhile, the Chinese envoy in Bangladesh Li Jiming appreciated the strong leadership of Sheikh Hasina for rapid alleviation of poverty from the country and excellent development.
He also credited China for the development of Bangladesh and said that China is now the “top destination” for Bangladeshi students in higher education abroad. Currently, nearly 12,000 Bangladeshi students are studying in China.
Jiming added that many Bangladeshi professionals in different areas including health, education, and engineering have achieved their higher degrees from China and are now contributing a significant role in their home country.
He urged Bangladesh to adopt some well-designed plans with specific measures for poverty alleviation within a specific timeframe as did China above four decades ago.
Meanwhile, the keynote speaker at the webinar Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), Bangladesh, said that the poverty level of both Bangladesh and China was almost the same in the 1970s.
But China is now a poverty-free Country. Long-term and well-thought plans, as well as the hard labor of the Chinese people and its leaders, have contributed to making this miracle possible.
The noted economist, however, noted that there are some basic differences between Bangladesh and China in terms of geographical and other factors.
“Bangladesh is a low lying country with 54 rivers crossing through the Country that has originated in the Himalayan mountains and downing from upstream India and as a result, the Country frequently suffers from floods and other natural disasters including cyclones.”
Addressing Bangladesh as a “highly climate-vulnerable” Country, he added that floods, cyclones, river erosions, salinity, and other natural disasters have a very adverse impact on Bangladesh.
On the other hand, divisive politics also create bars on the way to take integrated measures and national consensus to eradicate poverty, he noted.
He advised the government to properly categorize the poor people like ultra-poor, urban poor, and vulnerable poor and rehabilitated them properly with livelihoods and shelters.
In sharing the Chinese model of eradicating poverty, Professor Dr. Li Xiaoyun at China Agricultural University (CAU) and Honorary Dean of College of International Development and Global Agriculture said that China has been taking various steps since 1949 to eliminate poverty like “took lands from landlords and distributed it to peasants after the 1950 Agrarian Law”.
About the rapid developmental change in China he added that from 1949 to 1978, the average life expectancy increased from 35 years old to 68 years old in the country.
“From 1949 to 1978, the illiteracy rate decreased from 80% to 18.5%,” he said while presenting his power-point presentation at the webinar.
Bangladesh’s State Minister for Planning, Shamsul ALam, urged the ABCA to play a role like a bridge to bolster bilateral relations between Bangladesh and China.
Appreciating Chinese continuous support to Bangladesh in its development, he added that the 8th five-year plan of the Bangladesh government has been designed with priority to alleviate poverty.
The program was also addressed, among others, by Zhuang Lifeng, Founder President of Overseas Chinese Association in Bangladesh; Dr. Binayak Sen, Director General of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIIDS); Chai Xi, former Chinese Ambassador in Bangladesh and Professor Dr. Mohammad Mainul Islam, vice president of ABCA.