Working Session on Rural Revitalization
On the afternoon of April 25th, AmCham China held the 2023 Social Impact Initiative–Rural Revitalization Working Session with participants from the China Rural Technology Development Center of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Department of America and Oceania of the Ministry of Commerce, YouChange Foundation, Tsinghua University, UNICEF, ADB, and IFC, and representatives from 14 member companies across different industries. The working session discussed the role companies can play in China’s rural economic development, women empowerment, and child protection works.
Michael Hart, President of AmCham China, delivered the opening remark. He said that rural revitalization is a major strategy related to China’s future social and economic development proposed by President Xi Jinping in the report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. In January this year, Chinese central government also put forward a series of new requirements for rural development work. AmCham China and its member companies have been actively participating in this process and will continue to contribute to the development of rural China in different ways they are specializing on.
Zhang Songmei, Deputy Director of the China Rural Technology Development Center, delivered a keynote speech, in which she shared the focuses of the Center’s work, including the transformation of science and the implementation of technological innovations in rural areas. She emphasized that rural revitalization should integrate the four elements of industry, enterprise, innovation and ecology, and continuously strengthen the construction of cooperation platforms so that enterprises, including multinational enterprises, can better share knowledge and participate in rural economic development.
On rural economic development topic, You Ruishan, Deputy Director of the Center for Contemporary China Studies at Tsinghua University, shared the rural talent capacity building project – the Leading Goose Project. Since 2018, the Project has attracted more than 120,000 young farmers from all over the country. They completed online and offline training on production and sales skills and benefited more than 10 million farmers indirectly.
Chen Yidan, Senior Investment Officer from ADB, shared rural financial development experience. In order to expand the financing channels for farmers and small and micro business owners, ADB provided various forms of loans to customers in rural areas, supporting projects in inclusive finance, public health and agriculture areas.
In the discussion on how companies can help rural economic development, the participants provided ideas and possibilities from different perspectives. From the perspective of sustainable agricultural development, enterprises can help farmers plant agricultural goods in more scientific and emission-reducing ways, adopt innovative technologies in seeds and fertilizers, and help farmers with access to upstream and downstream cooperation channels. Companies can also introduce new foreign products and technologies to rural areas to accelerate digital and climate-friendly farming practices. At the same time, the participants agreed that the core of rural revitalization is people. Companies can train farmers on procurement knowledge, technology skill, risk management etc.
On the theme of rural women’s empowerment, Zhang Jing, Deputy Secretary of YouChange Foundation, shared the Orange Mother Project, discussing the comprehensive development of rural women from the dimensions of economic empowerment, family education, and community engagement. The Project provided rural women with employment opptunities in digital economy, entrepreneurial skills training, and start-up incubation, helping them effectively increase their income. The Project also established a county-level hub available for women to communicate, providing the opportunities for them to integrate into the public communities and enhance their influence.
On child protection works, Lin Fei, Senior Partnership Officer, and Li Yuanling, Corporate Partnership Officer, from UNICEF shared the efforts UNICEF in China. In addition, due to the advantages companies have in industry knowledge, financial resources, and social influence, UNICEF hopes to strengthen cooperation with companies in China to jointly bring benefits to rural children.
In the discussion on how enterprises can participate in the child protection and women empowerment, the participants believed that companies should continue using their products, services and financial advantages to implement charity projects, such as nutritional supplements on meals, sanitation condition improvement, and school facilities building among other projects to directly and effectively help children in need. In terms of women empowerment, companies can cooperate with the government to strengthen health education for rural women and provide them with career development training.
Claire Ma, Vice President of AmCham China, made a conclusive remark for the meeting. She thanked the guests for their insightful sharing and interactive discussions with company delegates and hoped that companies can adopt the above suggestions to their practices in helping revitalize China’s rural areas. She said that AmCham China will continue to play an active role as a platform of communications and build more cooperation opportunities among Chinese government, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, industry associations and member companies via the Social Impact Initiative program to contribute to the social and economic development of China.