Pakistan to benefit from China’s experience in poverty alleviation: Experts

According to Rizvi, the five-day training mentioned an oft-neglected but crucial triad reasons for poverty: lack of development resources, weak sense of competition and improper market docking.

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BEIJING: Pakistan will benefit from China’s experience in alleviating poverty through e-commerce, said experts who participated in the online seminar on ‘South-South Cooperation in Cross-border E-commerce for Poverty Eradication and Global Sustainable Development on China’s coastal city of Qingdao’.

“During the training, I learned how to gradually transfer e-commerce skills in rural areas through training programmes, starting with popularisation sessions to service centres,” said Hassan Rizvi, Manager of Capacity Building at the Balochistan Rural Support Programme (BRSP).

According to Rizvi, the five-day training mentioned an oft-neglected but crucial triad reasons for poverty: lack of development resources, weak sense of competition and improper market docking.

“In all these three aspects, China has been completely successful in optimising them with e-commerce…This one was the most inspiring for me personally,” Rizvi revealed.

In her written interview, Nadia Perveen, lecturer of Business and Economics at Quaid-e-Azam University termed the training sessions important sources for her students. “I always motivate my students to start their own business. This seminar was a very good opportunity to learn the Chinese practices regarding e-commerce and to teach my students.”

Similar views are echoed by Zahid Latif, Assistant Engineer of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication of Pakistan (MoITT), who obtained his PhD at a top IT university in China.

“During my four years in China, I observed the booming e-commerce and sharing economy there,” the engineer exclaimed. “One example is bicycle riding…You could ride a bicycle for just one RMB (about Rs. 28).”

Focusing on empowering people with technology, Latif believed e-commerce would be a “game-changer” for Pakistan, and that China and Pakistan could cooperate with each other in e-commerce-driven poverty alleviation.

“In July 2018, the Pakistan-China fibre optic was laid down for the purpose of boosting the digital technology in Pakistan. I think this type of initiative is not only beneficial for raising GDP (Gross Domestic Product) but for raising people’s living standards,” Latif said, adding more bilateral cooperation was possible in reducing poverty in Pakistan through e-commerce.

But to replicate China’s experience of reducing poverty through e-commerce, Hassan Rizvi mentioned that Pakistan had to increase the internet penetration in the country.

“In my opinion, the common goal of poverty elevation can be embedded in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as well. It’s a good resource and can become a good channel to promote e-commerce,” Rizvi added.

Organised by the Shangdong Foreign Trade Vocational College and hosted by China’s Ministry of Commerce in partnership with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the training seminar was designed to facilitate knowledge sharing and capacity development on cross-border e-commerce for policymakers, practitioners, and entrepreneurs from developing countries.

A total of over 1,100 participants from more than 90 countries and regions, including 37 Pakistanis, participated in the training seminar.

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