A media consultant & expert of Chinese affairs
The elimination of poverty is one of the common goals in the development experience of both Egypt and China, as the visions of both countries to solve this problem are very similar. Looking at the vision of “Egypt 2030”, which is the national agenda llaunched in February 2016 to achieve sustainable development in its comprehensive sense, and was updated with the beginning of 2018, we find that it focuses primarily on improving the citizen’s standard of living in various aspects of life, and working to reduce poverty of all its forms, eliminating hunger, providing an integrated system for social protection, enhancing access, improving the quality of basic services, enriching cultural life, as well as developing digital infrastructure, all of which serve the goal of combating poverty in Egypt.
According to that vision, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi launched many initiatives aimed at minimizing poverty of all its forms, including the Takaful and Karama (state-care & dignity) conditional cash transfer program for poor and most needy families and ensuring the health and educational rights of their children, which provided financial support to 3.6 million families, amounting to 14.3 million An individual. As well as the “Decent Life” initiative to improve the standard of living and provide job opportunities in small and medium enterprises in the areas of greatest need. Egypt has also made a great effort to eradicate slums as one of the mechanisms for reducing multidimensional poverty, as it launched the Asmarat City project in Cairo and the Bashayer al-Khair project in Alexandria.
In order to face the repercussions of the Coronavirus pandemic, Egypt launched the “We Share Here In The Crisis” initiative by the “Long Live Egypt” fund to support irregular employment. The state also provides social protection services to citizens and poor families, including conditional cash assistance, education and unemployment benefits, and pensions for the elderly. And the disabled, as well as providing job opportunities and small loans.
On the other hand, the great success of China in reducing poverty would not have been achieved in isolation from the careful plans and deliberate decisions of that problem. For example, we find that the 13th Five-Year Plan for China, which ends at the end of this year, focused on achieving the most important Chinese goals throughout history, which are the complete elimination of extreme poverty, as the Chinese government has worked in recent years to implement many plans to achieve this goal . Model plans have been implemented to establish high-quality agricultural lands, as well as huge sums of money allocated in order to get the population out of the “miserable poor” life into a life based on tangible sources of income for the entire population in China, and then the Chinese government continued to pursue and support small, medium and private projects in rural areas. In addition, it provides many incentives to farmers to encourage them to make good use of their lands.
* Egyptian & Chinese villages
Thanks to the plans drawn up by the two countries, many Egyptian and Chinese villages got rid of the poverty that their inhabitants suffered from. The following are common examples of these villages:
* Naga Aoun village
Residents of “Naga Aoun” village in Beheira Governorate, northern Egypt, succeeded in eliminating poverty and eliminating unemployment within five years by growing organic vegetables on the roofs of their homes. The village was one of the poorest regions in Egypt, and the unemployment rate was about 90%.
During their attempt to get rid of poverty, the villagers adopted ideas outside the box, with organic farming on the roofs of their homes, as the state agencies helped them by providing them with small loans to replace the ramshackle roofs of their homes with roofs built with concrete and insulation, as well as providing them with refrigerators to store their products. The villagers ’insistence on success had a positive effect in reducing the unemployment rates in the village from 90% to less than 5% within five years.
* Behmo Village
“Behmo” village, one of the villages in Fayoum governorate, is famous for making dates, chickpeas and ready-made clothes. More than 4,400 projects were financed with an amount of 18.73 million pounds. It provided nearly 5,000 job opportunities, and trained a large number of women on how to prepare a small business plan according to the industry. The village is famous for it, and they were granted funding through the Egyptian Enterprise Development Authority, and the village became a dates factory that was developed to keep pace with the spirit of the age of developments in this field and the latest means of export.
* Al-Shakhloba village
The village of “Al-Shakhloba” is one of the villages in Kafr El-Sheikh Governorate, and it is considered one of the first villages that do not know of unemployment. Its people work in the profession of fishing from the sea and lakes, and they were supported through the local government with coolers and refrigerators. This profession is their only source of livelihood, especially since the village is located on the banks of the sea on both sides. Many of its inhabitants were lifted out of poverty.
We conclude, through the previous examples, that adopting the idea of a “productive village” through carefully studied programs and sufficient experience can bear fruit, especially since the components of the productive village are available in Egypt and need to be explored and better organized and managed. Mechanisms must be put in place to advance the village, identify the developmental foundations in the village, and maximize the benefit from small and micro enterprises, in order to create job opportunities for young people, along with holding training courses for them and urging them to work in the private sector and free professions and addressing the causes of youth’s reluctance to work in crafts and changing society’s view of craftsmen. In order for Egypt to occupy the appropriate place economically, and all of this is sought by the strategic plan of Egypt 2030 in light of the development boom in Egypt in all fields, especially after the June 30 revolution.
As for China, it is getting rid of poverty by the end of this year in 2020, and China has made many innovations in small loan policies with the aim of helping poor families, as the small loans, according to the 2019 statistics, reached nearly $ 91 billion, benefiting about 15 million families.