The 2020 Webinar on Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Development for Sierra Leone kicked off on the morning of October 12. Throughout its fortnight’s program, close to 50 professors from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and Sierra Leonean government officials, experts and scholars have engaged with each other over experience on poverty alleviation and sustainable development.
In his opening remarks, Prof. Turay, Vice Chancellor of University of Makeni in Sierra Leone indicated that the China Africa Institute of University of Makeni (UniMak) was established in the wake of its attendance at the official inauguration of China-Africa Institute in 2019. Applauding the webinar as another milestone in the bilateral cooperation, Prof. Turay celebrated the timely and highly relevant convention of the webinar, particularly in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Not only has the pandemic devastated Africa economically and socially, but it has imposed multiple challenges on the cause of poverty reduction and sustainable development across the continent. The webinar enabled both sides to explore what works in poverty alleviation and lessons learned thereof to facilitate sustainable development. Mr. Makaya, Deputy Director of Public Investment Management under the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development further stated that China’s immense support has benefited the entire continent of Africa greatly, of which Sierra Leone is no exception. He also highlighted the great significance of the webinar, given the fact that human capital represents a major pillar for sustainable development and education plays an indispensable role in personal development. He called on all participants to make the most of the opportunity by studying hard and applying knowledge and experience gained here in context.
Prof. Zhang Bo, Vice President of the University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (UCASS) pointed out in her remarks that although unable to meet in-person due to the pandemic, the two sides will still be able to hear each other out and experience the transformation empowered by information technology. This year marks the end of China’s campaign to secure a decisive victory in poverty alleviation. Hopefully, the experience gained by China in poverty reduction and sustainable development will serve as a reference for friends in Sierra Leone.
On behalf of the sponsor of the event, Mr. Li Xinfeng, Executive Director of China-Africa Institute underlined the aim of the webinar as a communication platform between China and Sierra Leone on issues of common concern. Lectures are scheduled to cover demographic policies, inclusive finance, targeted poverty alleviation, environmental protection, modern agriculture, pandemic response, among other experience to help Sierra Leonean friends to better understand President Xi Jinping’s philosophy, approaches and achievements in national governance.
According to Ms. Zhou Yunfan, Deputy Director General of the Bureau of International Cooperation of CASS, this webinar, as part of the China-Africa Mechanism on Sustainable Development Exchanges, will open up new channels to institutionalize China-Africa think tank exchanges and provide intellectual support for building a closer China-Africa community of shared future.