Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said, “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 on how we have progressed tremendously under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.”
She made the remark while speaking as the chief guest at a webinar titled “Poverty Eradication: Experiences from Bangladesh and China”, held on the occasion of declaring a 25-member and two-year-long executive committee of the Association of Bangladesh-China Alumni (ABCA) on Wednesday.
“Both Bangladesh and China are among the most populous countries in the world and poverty alleviation for both states is very important,” she said.
Referring to the deep-rooted ties between the two Asian nations, the education minister said “People usually mention 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 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.
Experts at the international webinar 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.
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 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.
“However, China is now a poverty-free country. Long-term and well-thought plans as well as hard labor of the Chinese people and its leaders have contributed in making this miracle possible,” he said.
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.
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”.
“From 1949 to 1978, the illiteracy rate decreased from 80% to 18.5%,” he said during the presentation at the webinar.
Bangladesh’s State Minister for Planning, Shamsul Alam, urged the ABCA to play a role like a bridge to improve bilateral relations between Bangladesh and China.
Appreciating the continuous support of China 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 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, among others.