Being a keynote speech at a colloquium to mark the 19th National Congress of the CPC, held in Abuja on the 18th of October, 2017
The National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is historically, China’s most important political festival and the 19thedition of the national congress is remarkably significant for the Chinese people, not only that the leadership of the party and state has tackled successfully, the structural gridlock, the so-called middle income trap, that usually held down most emerging economies, but has chalked up massive and high quality of living standards for the Chinese people.
Since the 18th National Congress of the Party and election of Xi Jinping as General Secretary and President of the country in 2012, the Communist Party of China has refocused completely to its ideals of serving the people and putting the people first. Since president Xi Jinping said in 2012, after he was elected General Secretary that “the people’s desire for a better life will always be our goal”, the Party, after five years of its 18thnational congress has kept its commitment of ensuring a “better life for Chinese people.”
The Communist Party of China after its historic third plenary session of the 11th Central Committee in 1978, that decided on reforms and opening up to outside world, with economic modernization as central task, has after thirty years pulled 700 million Chinese out of poverty within the shortest frame of time in all human history, but nearly became complacent, loosing vigilance while unethical conduct have crept into the party.
While the founding creed of the party remain abidingly, a service to the people, some certain cadres of the party including some senior ones, began to have themselves served by the people. The party’s ideological fiber, its strict discipline and theoretical depth, including the party’s creative and innovative spirit began to weaken and waver. Under this condition, and with concern spreading among the Chinese people and friends of China abroad, about the fate of the Party and by extension, the Chinese nation, the 18th National Congress of the Party in 2012, produced a thorough going leadership sanitizer, with an unassailable record of uncompromising devotion to the ideals of the party.
General Secretary Xi Jinping, whose resume include personal encounter with poverty and deprivations, decisiveness in assigned roles, high performance and deliverable on targeted goals, emerged top of the leadership. With an uncommon boldness and strong focused leadership, he returned the party to its founding ideals of complete devotion and service to the people. He declared unequivocally at the start of his tenure that rampaging corruption at high and low places which threatens the life of the party will be battled to its very last vestige.
With unblemished personal record of service to the party and the state in his entire career that has seen him hold important position both at county, provincial and central levels, his commitment to eliminating graft within and outside the party was not empty one. He expressly committed to rooting out “tigers and flies,” from within and outside the party and five years on, the mighty ones have fallen. In more than the past 40 years, a member of the highest governing standing committee of the politburo and others in the central leadership were smoked out and disciplined for corruption. With a party refocused to its fiNe traditions of exemplary dedication and service to the people the Chinese people are currently experiencing exponential growth in the quality of their lives and the rest of the world has benefited from their increasing prosperity.
President Xi Jinping has demonstrated deep grasp of high issues of state policies as he is also remarkably at home with issues of common touch of even the everyday lives of the ordinary people.
His two major works – “Governance of China” and “Up and out of poverty,” are seminal and contain profound insights of state policies, Party building and international relations while, the later contain his wide-ranging experiences in tackling poverty at grassroots levels, where he honed his famed modesty and common touch with the ordinary people.
The two works are currently eminent resource materials in policy circles around the world, not t mention of their profound intellectual value to the scholarly and research community. I recommend to this esteemed audience that the works would be worth your midnight study.
In re-positioning the party, he reinforced its ideological integrity, returned it to its fountain-spring of theoretical innovations and imbued it again as an advanced, conscious and self-sacrificing vanguard of the Chinese people.
With a party thoroughly revitalized, the consequence are the many key strategic and far-sighted decisions and resolutions whose practical effects have seen a confident and prosperous China at home that is also contributing majorly to global public goods and governance.
Chinese economy, for whom many economists, both eminent and not so-eminent ones were debating about hard landing and even a collapse has stayed the course, overcoming the traditional economic stress of limping to post industrial economies. With profound dedication and hard work, President Xi Jinping, the hugely intelligent premier Li Kequiang has steered China through challenging structural reform and rebalanced the economy to what President Xi called the “new normal,” that is essentially replacing the traditional drivers of the economy – manufacturing, high savings with knowledge economy based on services, consumption and innovation. The result has been significantly game-changing for the Chinese people and the rest of the world.
In the last five years, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has expanded by an average annual rate of 7.2 percent compared with 2.6 percent average global growth and the 4 percent growth of developing economies.
China 2016 GDP of 11.2 trillion dollars accounted for 14.8 percent of the world economy, up by 3.4 percentage points from 2012. The average contribution of China to world growth between 2013 and 2016 was about 30 percent, the largest among all countries and higher than the total contribution from the United States of America, the Euro zone and Japan.
For four consecutive years, between 2013 and 2016, 13 million new urban jobs were created annually and new jobs created in the first eight months of 2017 stood at 9.74 million. Similarly, the number of rural residents working in cities rose at an annual rate of 1.8 percent in 2013 to 2016.
Research and development (R&D) expenditures rose from 52.2%. Reforms to simplify business registration and streamline approvals resulted in the registration of 13.62 million new companies between 2014 and 2016, an annual increase of 30% and in the first eight months of 2017, 3.99 million new companies were registered. To show the result of the successful re-balancing of the economy, the share of service output in GDP rose from 45.3% in 2012 to 51.6% in 2016. In the eight months of 2017, service output accounted for 54.1% of GDP.
The contribution of final consumption to economic growth averaged 55% in 2013 to 2016, while in the first eight months of 2017, final consumption to economic growth stood at 63.45%.
The cumulative results of the original and innovative policies which strategically transformed the key structural devices of the economy bore fruits in the number of rural people, living in poverty, which dropped to 43.35 million last year from 98.99 million in 2012. The disposal income per-capital of rural residents in poor areas rose by 10.7% on average in 2013 to 2016, faster than the 8% in all rural areas. The average life expectancy of the Chinese people rose from 74.83 years in 2010 to 76.34 years in 2015. In the past five years, China has lifted nearly 65 million people out of poverty, about equal to the entire population of the Great Britain and once the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society ahead of the 100th anniversary of the founding of CPC in 2021 is accomplished, China will eradicate poverty in a country with a population of about one fifth of the world total. The second centenary goal, which aims to build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious will be completed by 2049, the 100thanniversary of the founding of the Peoples Republic of China. Since the national Congress of the CPC, when President XI Jinping was elected, strenuous efforts have made to realize the “Two Centenary Goals,” and fulfill the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.
The 19th National Congress of the CPC will undoubtedly consolidate on the major achievements of the last five years, and open new vistas of creative and imaginative polices to drive fresh- value adding opportunities to the existing achievements.
As the Congress is expected to approve battery of measures to sustain the fight against graft, domicile key initiatives and thoughts of President XI Jinping in the new constitutional amendment of the party, will all add to the momentum of deepening reforms, strengthening the central party leadership with President XI Jinping at the core and generally laying the ground work for the realization of the party’s centenary goal of building moderately prosperous society in just about the next four years.
The Communist Party of China-a party of revolution, reconstruction and now reform which President Xi Jinping described as in-depth revolution is at the cutting edge of brilliant new order and in this historic 19th national congress will re-affirm its destiny as the trusted and reliable servant of the Chinese people, and trail blazer of the emerging broadly community of shared interests and inclusive world order.
In 2013, Chinese leadership under President Xi Jinping elaborated a profound vision of global inter-connectivity through overland, maritime and digital infrastructures, which he called the “Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” now famously known as “One Belt One Road,” or simply the “Belt and Road Strategy of International Cooperation.” With over one hundred countries signing on to Belt and Road global development strategy and over 180 billion US dollars, so far spent on construction of projects along the routes of the Belt and Road includes the whole world, China is decisively transforming the world and making globalization, an inclusive framework of all humanity. The Belt and Road international cooperation strategy will most likely receive decisive momentum from the outcome of the 19th national congress of the party. Apart from the Belt and Road fund, China has also initiated a multilateral institution, the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) whose chief mission is to provide fund for heavy infrastructure projects especially in developing countries. It has current membership of over 65 countries, including some members of the rich industrialized western nations. Nigeria as a matter of urgency should access the membership of the AIIB and avail herself of its enormous liquidity to fill the gaps of our infrastructure deficits
China-Africa cooperation, especially through the multilateral framework of the Forum of China Africa Cooperation, FOCAC, will certainly take some boosts from the outcome of the current national congress of the CPC.
President Xi Jinping has always maintained that China and Africa is a community of shared destiny and that no matter what the international situation will be and of whatever height, China might attain in the global perking order, she will remain loyal to her brotherly and friendly cooperation with Africa. In his first ever foreign tour as president in 2013, he flew from Moscow straight to Africa and delivered his pivotal speech from which China and Africa have been advancing their frontiers of the cooperation, leading to a 78-page report issued last June by a global consulting group, Mckinsey and Company, with the title of “Dance of the lions and Dragons.” How are Africa and China engaging, and how will the partnership evolve?” In its executive summary, the report said that “in a mere two decades, China has become Africa biggest economic partner. Across trade, investment, infrastructure- financing, and aid, there is no other country with such depth and breadth of engagement in Africa. The Chinese “dragons” – firms of all sizes and sectors are bringing capital investment, management known-how, and entrepreneurial energy to every corner of the continent – and in so doing, they are helping to accelerate the progress of Africa’s “Lions” as its economies are often referred to.”
The outcome of the 19th national congress of the CPC, will release fresh energies to the current momentum of Sino-Africa cooperation, drive dynamic wave of industrialization, sustain and even accelerate the pace of key and strategic infrastructure construction and transform and bring about the long awaited agricultural modernization in Africa.
Apart from been friends, we as Africans and Nigerians have many more reasons to wish the 19th national congress of the Communist party of China (CPC), a complete success.
Thank you for attention
Mr. Charles Onunaiju
Centre for China Studies (CCS), Abuja.