China sets 5% GDP growth target for 2024 amid modernization drive

By Théophile Niyitegeka
On 5 March 2024 at 01:04

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has outlined a goal of achieving around 5 percent economic growth in line with the objectives of its 14th Five-Year Plan and the ambition to attain modernization.

This projection was disclosed by Chinese Premier Li Qiang during the presentation of a government work report at the inaugural session of the second phase of the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC), which convened at the Great Hall of the People on Tuesday morning.

Nearly 3,000 delegates from across the nation gathered in Beijing for the week-long assembly.

China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) surged by 5.2% year-on-year in 2023, surpassing the annual target of about 5 percent, reaching a record of 126.06 trillion yuan (approximately 17.71 trillion US dollars) last year.

With a population of 1.4 billion, the country maintained an average surveyed unemployment rate of 5.2 percent in 2023, down 0.4 percentage points from 2022.

During the presentation of this report, Premier Li highlighted the nation’s advancements across various developmental spheres, emphasizing a seamless transition in epidemic management post a decisive victory in the battle against Covid-19.

He underscored the accomplishment of main developmental goals and tasks in 2023, citing steady progress in the pursuit of high-quality development, sustained social stability, and significant strides towards building a comprehensively modern socialist state.

Industries witnessed accelerated transformation, with strategic emerging sectors experiencing robust growth, laying the groundwork for future industry development. Advanced manufacturing integrated further with modern services, resulting in notable innovations across major sectors.

Premier Li also noted substantial progress in establishing a network of national laboratories and achieving breakthroughs in core technologies across key domains.

Reflecting on the challenges faced in 2023, Li acknowledged the economy’s undulating growth trajectory amidst various difficulties. Nevertheless, he affirmed the nation’s successful attainment of developmental targets, underlining a deeper comprehension of economic principles in the new era and the acquisition of valuable experience in overcoming obstacles.

He attributed these achievements to the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the steadfast leadership of the Party Central Committee, led by Comrade Xi Jinping.

Looking ahead to 2024, Premier Li outlined key targets, including approximately 5 percent GDP growth, the creation of over 12 million new urban jobs, a surveyed urban unemployment rate of around 5.5 percent, a CPI increase of about 3 percent, and equitable growth in personal income.

Other objectives encompassed maintaining balance in the balance of payments, achieving a grain output of over 650 million metric tons, reducing energy consumption per unit of GDP by around 2.5 percent, and continued environmental enhancements.

Li emphasized that these targets were formulated considering domestic and international dynamics, feasibility, and the imperative of bolstering employment and incomes while mitigating risks.

However, he cautioned that attaining this year’s targets would pose challenges, stressing the necessity for sustained policy focus, enhanced efforts, and unified action.

Speaking at a press conference following the opening session, Mr. Huang Shouhong, head of the government work report drafting team and Director of the State Council Research Office, affirmed that the report comprehensively reflects public concerns.

He disclosed extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders to assess the applicability of recommendations.

Regarding the 5 percent GDP growth target, Huang emphasized considerations of local context and feasibility.

Meanwhile, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee convened its annual session on Monday, with over 2,000 national political advisors gathering at the Great Hall of the People. Party and state leaders reviewed and endorsed the session’s agenda during the opening meeting.

Legislators following the presentation of work report at the Great Hall of the People.
People walk outside the Great Hall of the People after attending the second session of the 14th CPPCC National Committee.
At the parliamentary premises, teams have been deployed to guide participants.
Police officers were deployed to ensure smooth traffic flow at Tiananmen Square.
Mr. Huang Shouhong, head of the government work report drafting team and Director of the State Council Research Office (right) addressing members of the press after the opening session of CPC. .
The Great Hall of the People is a state building located at the western edge of Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Photos: Théophile Niyitegeka/ Beijing, China