Source: Global Times Published: 2017-7-14
Nations rethink Western development methods
China`s economic achievements in the past decades have attracted an increasing number of other developing countries, which have sent officials to China to learn the secrets to its success.
Developing countries have started to review old development strategies patterned after Western models and are shifting to learning from China`s experience and model of urbanization and modernization, experts said.
Ahmed Ramy, director of economic research at Egypt`s central bank, attended a financial training course in Beijing on China`s economic and financial development experience with 23 financial and economic officials from other countries. He said Egypt and China both began opening up in the 1970s, but China proved to be more successful than Egypt, so Egypt wants to learn China`s model, Reuters reported.
Tsinghua University`s School of Public Policy and Management has already received government officials and researchers from more than 90 countries - not only developing countries but also developed ones - since 2007, school dean Professor Xue Lan told the Global Times on Thursday.
"The school has two English taught master degree programs on international development and public administration, and many countries, mostly from Africa, send their officials to study and train," Xue said.
"We have never forced our students to accept China`s ideology or development model. Aside from China`s model, the course also studies the experiences and lessons they learned from their own development. However, after they came to China, they are extremely interested in China`s experience and model," Xue said.
Alternative to Western methods
Many developing countries were colonized by Western countries. After winning independence, most of the countries kept the old Western system and their former colonizers still educate their elites with Western ideologies and development patterns, said Wang Yiwei, director of the Institute of International Affairs at the Renmin University of China.
When they see an Eastern country that did not follow the path of Westernization achieve great development in the past decades and even become a major power, they might feel disappointed with what the West had taught them, Wang said. "That`s why they are now looking to the East."
"We are not saying China`s development model is perfect or better than the West`s. The point is while we learn from many countries, we don`t blindly follow anyone. We are following a path of discovery, based on China`s national condition. This is the key to China`s successful development," said Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce.
"It is true that other developing countries should learn from us, but don`t try to copy everything from China. Find a path that suits their own conditions," Bai said.
"A student from Africa told me that after attending the course, he understood China`s experiences and ideas on development, but realized that he could not apply all of these to his country, because his country doesn`t have a powerful government or a powerful ruling party," Xue said.
"But their perspective started to change. Although we can`t say they embrace everything about us, they are reviewing what the West taught them and are trying to break down the ideological constraints. For instance, they are beginning to realize that, apart from Westernization, there are alternatives to achieving urbanization and modernization," Xue added.
Some of China`s experiences, like "stability is the most important foundation of development" and "infrastructure is a precondition to wealth, have gained greater acceptance," Bai said.
Officials from foreign countries studying in China are also seeking Chinese investments. Nepalese official Ram Hari Neupane promoted Nepal`s hydroelectric resources at seminars and sought Chinese investment, Reuters reported.
Nevertheless, some of China`s development methods have been accepted and put into practice by many countries, "such as the special economic zones, which have been adopted by some African countries," said Xue.
Cabinet Secretary for Kenya`s Transport and Infrastructure James Macharia told the Xinhua News Agency on Tuesday that Kenya has proposed the establishment of "special economic zones" in Naivasha to maximize the benefits of the newly built modern railway, the Nairobi-Naivasha Standard Gauge Railway.
Wang Yiwei is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.