Visiting China was a splendid experience as it is one of the fastest growing economies. Calling it a “developing” nation might no longer suit its accomplishments. It can definitely compete with many “developed” nations in terms of its infrastructure and technological advancements.
There are definitely a lot of things that we can learn from the Chinese story of development. Though, I am aware of the difference in the environment, resources and traditions of the two countries. But, the way China has undergone a complete transformation from being an under-developed nation to where it is now, there are a lot of learnings for us.
China’s commitment to building good infrastructure is definitely very inspiring. We need to have such vigour in our country to take care of our basic amenities and lay strong foundations. However, China realised very early on that a strong economy cannot survive on the back of weak infrastructure. Hence, you find reliable roads, excellent rail network, electricity and high-speed transport, plus seamless and efficient communication. Technological advancement in China has a global impact.
Not to forget their fast-changing Internet landscape. China has an incredible Internet market where a cellphone is a basic necessity owned by everyone. The Mobile and online market in China is 3x bigger on its own.
According to a report from China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC), China has overtaken the US to become the world’s largest online retail market as its E-commerce revenues grossed USD 439 million last year constituting 7 per cent of its GDP. Which is one of the key economic achievements of China’s Internet development during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-15).
Nigeria’s e-commerce sector is still underutilised and needs to look up to China for the immense success in this field. We have to build upon our existing online leaders and provide users with secure payment channels. There is a huge scope of an untapped market in our online landscape.
China undergoes a lot of R&D before they launch anything in their markets. This is also the reason that most of their innovations are based on a lot of empirical findings. They have succeeded in using their learnings to come up with innovations in their day to day life. Unlike old times, where developing nations were not known for knowledge creation and it was exclusively the domain of advanced economies.
The biggest success story in the case of innovation is their commerce and eating markets. The number of online transactions happening in China alone notch a 60 crore mark. Over there every smartphone manufacturer has their own app store and in all there are 4000 app stores. Every smartphone brand sells their mobile phones at a very low price point and makes revenue through in-app advertisements.
Nigeria is still trying to find its way to a stable transparent governance structure. Our policies need to be long term in order to increase sustainability and drive change. The power structures have to understand that in order to build a sustainable development structure the status quo needs to change. Firstly we need to redefine the role of the state and strengthen existing legal systems. New rules and regulations have to be introduced. Lastly, we need to adjust the relations between levels of government and come up with an inclusive, interactive growth structure.
Good governance need not be inherently democratic, but it needs to be effective and evolving. Chinese governance has undergone various reforms. There have been huge transitions in all fields of governance. There was a time when decisions and rulings were always authoritarian. Now, a lot of it has been decentralised of and constant interaction has lead to phenomenal change.
The transition process has implied a major reshuffling of the power structure. It has brought a huge change in the role of the state. Private sector entities are becoming increasingly important actors and sub-national governments have seen their role increase. Therefore, this has had major repercussions and asked for a shift from a centralised system to a more decentralised system
The Chinese government has taken an active role in a number of policy areas to defend China’s expanding national interest and to strengthen its status in the world. As China’s economy and its political ambition continue to grow, so will its influence around the world.
One very challenging step for China is maintaining transparency of all the policies that are framed. They have often been under fire regarding the issues pertaining to environmental transparency and so on. But, they have always strived hard to overcome such challenges.
Political powers and change in leaderships hardly affect what stays in agendas. The plans are long term and hence tracking them is possible. They keep introducing new laws and regulations for environmental information disclosure. Such information then presents significant opportunities for deepening environmental transparency.
This was made possible because of the interaction and involvement of the citizens of the country. Nigerians have to learn how China’s increasingly prosperous and middle-class society became more aware of environmental issues and demanded stronger government action on environmental protection. This called for greater participation and government transparency.
Strengthening the rule of law and the regulatory framework will provide citizens and businesses with greater confidence concerning state institutions’ evolution of the devices through which power is exercised.
We might be two different nations, but there are a lot of learnings that can be put to use in our nation. It is commendable to see the visible economic and social change in China transforming from an agrarian-based labour force to one based on industrial and service sectors.
I strongly feel that the progress made by the Chinese authorities definitely needs to be acknowledged and we have a lot to learn from each other.