As China’s ruling party – the Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrates her 100th birthday, from its very humble background, in almost all fronts, CPC now stands firm and taller after seeing China through a remarkable Century of unquestionable progress.
After 72 years of steady leadership, CPC guided China to move from a poor, and developing country to become the world’s second largest Economy. As of 2020, China’s total GDP was estimated to total $14.7 trillion, sightly bellow U.S’ $20.9 trillion. Arguably, China’s CPC leadership continue to guide the country to the right direction in terms of economic and social development. According to last week’s data released by China’s Statistics department, despite world’s economic growth slow down due to Covid-19 pandemic, China’s economy grew a record 18.3% in the first quarter of 2021, one of the best so far globally and the biggest jump in the last three decades.
Steady economic growth seen in China has enabled the country to carry out what is now the world’s most successful poverty-alleviation program. Indeed, China’s extreme poverty numbers declined in a short time from 66.3% in 1990 to just 0.3 percent in 2018. In February 2021, CPC’s Central Committee Secretary General, Xi Jinping, broke the good news that China had completely eliminated extreme poverty, a development that was lauded by several world leaders as a great achievement.
Another intriguing achievement is how CPC has managed to build a State capable of protecting and governing her huge population of 1.4 billion people peacefully for 72 years. CPC has presided over possibly the longest period of general peace and stability in China’s modern history. Today, China boasts of a empowered huge population with a huge economy and political stability which has enabled Beijing to have a greater say in global affairs – oftentimes standing by almost all developing countries. It is now an open secret that Beijing is playing an increasingly visible role in the international arena; in key areas like promoting Public Health, Peacekeeping efforts, promotion of trade and technology among others. Under the leadership of CPC, China has also come up with projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Forum on China-Africa Cooperation all which symbolizes China’s readiness and desire to play a bigger role in global affairs for good of mankind.
In many ways, CPC’s achievements and consequently China’s rise have greatly and positively contributed to African countries and the continent at large. It can be recalled that since its inception, CPC stood shoulder to shoulder with African countries especially while fighting colonial bondage. Indeed, since the famous 1955 Bandug conference, the party provided ideological, material and moral support to different African liberation movements. African Countries returned the favour in kind by supporting China to gain a seat in United Nations in 1971 and many of African countries to date are committed to China’s One-China policy.
Due to continued good relations between China and African countries, the two sides agreed to start Forum for China-Africa Cooperation which has provided an official and effective platform for cooperation between China and African countries on bases of Mutual respect and benefits. Consequently, China is Africa’s biggest trading partner with trade between the two reaching over $208 billion as of 2019. Beijing is also Africa’s biggest bilateral creditor which has helped several African countries to finance their much-needed infrastructure projects which analysts view as catalysts for social and economic development.
Indeed, China invested $25 billion in Africa’s infrastructure; helping almost all African countries’ communication, energy, transport, water and sanitation sectors in the year 2018. Both International Monitory Fund and World Bank’s 2019 reports credited the continent’s rapid economic growth since early 1990’s to China’s infrastructure assistance.
Arguably, China is not just a diplomatic ally to African countries, neither should the relations between the two sides be viewed only from the angle of China providing economic and development assistance alone. In many ways, China is a role model and many African countries have a lot to learn from the country’s ruling party CPC and the country in general. Firstly, the party – CPC has presided over and maintained economic growth levels for the country at the same time building strong state institutions and hence, effective governance and stability of the country. The two points; effective governance and stability have largely been elusive in most African countries. It can be recalled that three decades ago, the level of development in China was equal to that in Africa. For example, in 1978, Sub-Saharan African countries GDP averaged at $490 while that of China was about $156. However, China has now transformed itself and emerged as a global economic powerhouse while Africa remains the least developed continent in the world.
The other important lesson African countries can borrow or learn from China and its ruling party is the centrality of historical contingency which is glaring especially success of economic and social policies in the country. When we critically analyse its development process, despite the fact that China borrowed some foreign models and experiences, Beijing did not just transplant these ideas but rather, its economic policies are in many ways tailored to meet the country’s cultural, geographical, historical, and political conditions.
Another key lesson African Countries can learn is that China has demonstrated how pragmatism not dogmatism should govern the choice of policies any country that aspires to develop should embrace. While many of African countries are still struggling to fight and eradicate poverty, China’s poverty eradication polices have helped Beijing to eliminate extreme poverty. Therefore, China’s political model is something Africa as a continent we can learn from. While CPS ensures democracy at the grassroot level in China to ensure people have a say in the decisions that affect their lives and how they are governed locally; meritocracy is always key at the top level which helps in ensuring that China is governed by not just competent individuals with a firm grasp of economics, international relations and science and technology, which helps them to make not just correct but nation saving decisions for the country. This system also ensures continuity in politics which is good for policy consistency.
It can be argued that it is a result of meritocratic recruitment that China has been able to deal with the problem of corruption, a vice analysts attribute to African country’s stagnation. Also, emphasis of discipline among party leadership and membership cannot be ignored while analysing reasons behind China’s rise.
In conclusion, aware that it is not always easy to predict the future, one can argue that as CPC prepares to celebrate its 1st century, it remains to be seen what the next century will look like for this mighty party and the world at large. Whereas CPC started its first century as an obscure and arguably a loosely coordinated Communist Movement, it is starting its second century at a time when the country it presides over, Peoples Republic of China, is a global trailblazer and a potential superpower-in-waiting.
As of now, from security social and economic perspective, China’s future is fully secured-matching towards achieving Beijing’s dreams. No matter the challenges such as mistrust from some Western countries and a few of their allies and conflicting regional interests among her neighbours, China under CPC leadership has proved resilience to emerge victorious in dealing with sensitive issues.