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Ma Weihua: Win the Fight against Poverty with Impact Investing and Other Financial Means



    On Sept. 20, the 2019 International Public Welfare Symposium of China Charity Fair themed with "Great Power Battle in 2020" was held in Shenzhen. This Symposium aims at combining wisdom in the sector of philanthropy and contributing to the eradication of poverty at the critical moment of securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects when it's urgent to alleviate poverty.

 At the Symposium, Ma Weihua, Chairman of the Board of China Global Philanthropy Institute, Chairman of One Foundation and former president of China Merchants Bank, shared his viewpoint of how to use capital to promote poverty alleviation and realize sustainable development.

 Ma Weihua served as the Executive Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of China Merchants Bank Co., Ltd., Member of the 11th and 12th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Chairman of the National Science and Technology Achievement Transformation Guidance Fund, Chairman of One Foundation, Chairman of China Alliance of Social Value Investment and Executive Director of China Society for Finance and Banking. He won the medal of STELLA D'ITALIA Commander, and took a part-time job at Peking University, Tsinghua University, etc. as a professor. He seeks integration of philanthropy and business in philanthropy finance, charitable trust, social enterprises and other fields, and actively promotes the development of impact investing in China. He was hired by UNDP as a special adviser of UNDP in China and member of Sustainable Development Goals Influence Advisory Council, becoming the only selected member in Asia.

 Ma Weihua believes that whether it is to win the fight against poverty in China or to achieve global sustainable development, it's necessary to rely on various financial means, including impact investing. In particular, impact investing can help poverty alleviation through industry, science and technology and education, and complete the mission of thorough poverty alleviation.

 The speech is shown as follows

 In the past 20 years, driven by scientific and technical revolution, financial innovation, globalization and other factors, the global economy has been growing rapidly and wealth gathered rapidly. However, at the same time, the world has also been faced with tough tests in poverty reduction, improvement of health care, environmental protection, etc. In particular, the issue of rich-poor gap has been increasingly more serious, and some extremely rich enterprises continue to emerge. However, in the meantime, more than 2 billion people around the world still live on less than USD 3 a day and nearly 1.6 billion people do not have basic health security.

 To cope with the above global issue, Chairman Xi Jinping signed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on behalf of China with 193 countries at the United Nations in Sept. 2015.

 The following year, the Chinese government released a sustainable development plan. After that, under the leadership of Chairman Xi Jinping and the Party Central Committee, the targeted poverty alleviation project of China has achieved remarkable results. That is, China's poverty population has been reduced by 80 million, contributing more than 75% to global poverty reduction. The World Bank said that China's contributions to poverty reduction were unprecedented.

 However, although China has made major achievements in poverty alleviation, there is still a long way to go to get rid of poverty in the world. It's conservatively estimated that to realize 17 sustainable development goals formulated by the United States, USD 3.9 trillion needs to be spent every year. At present, public sectors and private sectors including philanthropy invest about 4 trillion every year. Therefore, it's necessary to continue to introduce capital and solve problems by a variety of financial means including impact investing.

 Impact investing obtains not only positive financial return but also quantitative and positive social influence. The key is to solve social problems with the concept of philanthropy, business model and financial tools.

 Impact investing is also applicable in China. It takes another more than a year to win the fight against poverty. It's also necessary to choose various capital forces including impact investing to achieve thorough poverty alleviation, fundamentally change the fate of poverty population and realize sustainable development in order to support poverty alleviation through industry, science and technology and education. In this way, the mission of thorough poverty alleviation will be accomplished.

 For example, industrial targeted poverty alleviation is a major move, which needs to provide support and capacity building for farmers in poverty-stricken areas. In this regard, impact investing can play an important role.

 Poverty alleviation cannot be separated from capital support, including international financial companies and Ant Financial. They are able to help increasingly more farmers realize industrial targeted poverty alleviation. Therefore, to help farmers improve abilities, financial ability is indispensable.

 Supporting poverty alleviation by science and technology under impact investing is also an option. People from many poverty-stricken areas encounter bad natural conditions, so they have to depend on Heaven for food. Impact investing and financial capital can help Fintech companies and help farmers with poverty alleviation by science and technology.

 "To reduce poverty, ignorance needs to be eliminated. To alleviate poverty, people's awareness of poverty alleviation needs to be improved". Poverty alleviation through education is the most fundamental means to solve the problem of development in poor areas and an important way to prevent the intergenerational transmission of poverty. Therefore, poverty alleviation through education has also attracted attention from capital, finance and impact investing. Better Education, an educational institution established in 2009, is committed to improving the economic self-reliance abilities of children and young people. The main beneficiaries are rural young people and children aged from 3 to 25. Since its establishment, Better Education has been supported by financial institution capital at home and abroad. It has covered 24 provinces and 67 regions and provided services for more than 3 million people.

 China Global Philanthropy Institute is a philanthropy education organization set up to cultivate a model of global philanthropy, especially senior management talents for foundations. It is hoped that through the training of philanthropy executives, talents and strength can be provided for poverty alleviation.

 In short, poverty alleviation for sustainable development is not only a goal for China but also for the world. To realize it, the strong support of the government, great inspiration of philanthropy and the power of capital are required, so is the great support of impact investing.

 I believe that through the concerted efforts of society, China's goal of poverty alleviation will gain a complete victory, and global sustainable development goals will certainly be realized.


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