BEIJING, March 26 (Xinhua) -- China has made great achievements in the social sector on its way for equitable growth, said Elizabeth Knup, China country director and representative for the Ford Foundation.
As one of the world's largest private foundations, the Ford Foundation began working with China in 1979 and witnessed the country's rapid growth over the past 40 years of not only the economy but also the social sector, Knup told Xinhua when attending the China Development Forum 2019.
"People's lives are much better off than they were even 20 years ago in China, and it's only getting better," she said.
Official data showed more than 700 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty in the past four decades, with the poverty rate in rural areas lowering from 97.5 percent in 1978 to 1.7 percent in 2018.
During the same period, China's per capita income saw a 25-fold surge. China's contribution to poverty reduction has been "enormous," and "that contributed to the achievement of the millennium development goals for the whole world," Knup said.
The Chinese government vowed to build a moderately prosperous society where "nobody should be left behind."
Knup saw such "equitable growth" as the outcome of the efforts from different sides. "The leadership of China today recognizes that equitable growth is something that the policies, the people and the leaders have to actively participate in."
China pledged to reduce dropout rates of rural students and increase the size of special enrollment quotas at key universities for students in rural and poor areas, according to the 2019 government work report.
Chinese think tanks, research institutions and policy bodies also made contributions to ensuring people from all walks of life can have equal access to resources and services. Knup noted the China Development Research Foundation (CDRF), a partner of the Ford Foundation in China, launched a program on early childhood education, particularly in rural communities with fewer resources.
"The investment in education as we can all recognize is extremely important for a well-rounded society so that all people have an opportunity to participate in society equally," she said.
The Ford Foundation also witnessed the transition of China from caring about domestic development to "taking Chinese development experience out."
"The Ford Foundation shifted its approach to grant-making related to China," Knup said. "We hope that we'll be able to make contributions to helping other countries understand the role that China can play in the global development process."