By Mr. Li Xiaoyong
Chargé d’affaires ad interim
Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone
In a few days, the world will turn its eyes on the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which will open in Beijing on October 16,2022. The 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012 heralded a new era in building socialism with Chinese characteristics. I would like to take this opportunity to share with our friends in Sierra Leone on China’s achievements in the past decade.
China’s strength in economy and other fields continues to be strengthened. Over the past ten years, China’s GDP has grown at an average annual rate of 6.6%. In 2021, China’s total economic volume reached 114.4 trillion RMB Yuan, accounting for 18.5% of the world economy, an increase of 7.2 percentage points over 2012, and its average contribution to world economic growth exceeded 30%. From 2020 to 2021, despite the severe impact of the COVID-19, China’s economy still grew by an average of 5.1% for two years. In the past ten years, China’s per capita GDP has risen from US$6,300 to US$12,500, an increase of 69.7%. China’s total tradevolume in goods and services increased from US$4.4 trillion to US$6.9 trillion, ranking first in the world for two consecutive years. China’s two-way investment stands firmly in the forefront of the world. Since 2017, China has ranked second in the world in attracting foreign investment for four consecutive years.
The living standard of the Chinese people has reached a new level. By 2021, China has built a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Nearly 100 million rural poor people under the current standard have been lifted out of poverty.The problem of absolute poverty has been solved historically. And China’s poverty reduction goal of UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has been achieved ten years ahead of schedule. So far, China has contributed 70% to world poverty reduction efforts.
China’s average life expectancy has increased from 74.8 years to 78.2 years. Infant and under-5 children mortality rates are far lower than the average level of middle and highincome countries. And the core indicators of maternal and child health have further improved. In the face of the once-in-a-century pandemic of Covid-19, the Chinese government has been adhering to the principle of putting people first, protecting people’s lives and health to the greatest extent. And the infection rate and death rate are both low, making greatcontributions to the cause of global human rights development.
China’s scientific and educational development have undergone historic growth. During the past decade, China has made a historic leap in the level of universal education. At present, there are nearly 530,000 schools at all levels in China, with over 290 million students enrolled. The gross enrollment rate of preschool education is 88.1%, which is23.6 percentage points higher than ten years ago. China’s nine-year compulsory education consolidation rate reaches 95.4%, up 3.6 percentage points from a decade ago; the gross enrollment rate in high school education is 91.4%, up 6.4 percentage points; and the gross enrollment rate in higher education is 57.8%, up 27.8 percentage points. The total number of Research and Development (R&D) personnel in China ranks first in the world. The R&D expenditure increases from 1.03 trillion RMB Yuan to 2.79 trillion RMB Yuan, becoming the world’s second largest R&D spending country.
According to a World Intellectual Property Organization report, China’s ranking in the Global Innovation Index jumped from 34th in 2012 to 12th in 2021.
The ecological environment has beensignificantly improved, making China a more beautiful country. Over the past decade, China’s carbon intensity has dropped by 34.4%. The air quality indicator PM2.5 dropped from 46 micrograms per cubic meter in 2015 to 30 micrograms per cubic meter in 2021, making China a country with the fastest air quality improvement in the world. China actively participates in the multilateral process of climate change, and solemnly promises to strive to achieve carbon peak by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060.China also vigorously promotes green industrial transformation and energy structure adjustment, and accelerates the construction of large-scale wind power and photovoltaic bases. The energy consumption per unit of GDP has dropped by about 26.2%.
The fundamental reason for the historic achievements and changes in China’s undertakings in the past decade is that General Secretary Xi Jinping is at the helm in the new era, steering the country through wind and waves to a brighter future. The CPC has established Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and defined the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. This reflects the common will of the Party, the armed forces, and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, and is of decisive significance for advancing the cause of the Party and the country.
China has started a new journey to build a modern socialist country in all respects, which is called the Second Centenary Goal for the Party by the mid-century. The 20th National Congress of the CPC will plan the goals, tasks and major policies for the development of China in the next five years and beyond, which is of great and far-reachingm significance for the future of the Nation. The Chinese people will continue to implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era to gather strength to realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation.
China and Sierra Leone are good friends and partners worthy of mutual trust. The friendship between the two countries is as sweet as sugar and as mellow as coffee. In recent years, under the care and promotion of the two heads of state, China-Sierra Leone relations have continued to move forward and practical cooperation has been steadily advancing. The future of the two countries’development and cooperation is full of hope. In the new era, China is ready towork together with Sierra Leonean friends to bring our friendship and cooperation to a new level.