December 22,2017   By:Phoebe Oyugi
1 Introduction
The right to development (RTD) is controversial and is often highly politicised. Debates surrounding the RTD always revolve around economic differences between the global North and South and whether the RTD leads to the establishment of a new international economic order. The impact on the North-South divide on the RTD was discussed at length at the International Seminar on the 30th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the RTD held in December 2016 in Beijing, China, where the author was present.  The theme of the seminar was ‘sharing development: delivering greater benefit to all the people in the world’. The occasion was attended by government officials and scholars from China and from over 40 countries all over the world, mostly from the global South - Africa and Asia. 
The recurring theme at this seminar was how China prioritises the RTD over all other rights and how this has led to the uplifting of 700 million people from poverty in just 30 years. In a congratulatory letter addressed to the Seminar attendees by President Xi Jinping, he reiterated China’s long held belief that the fulfilment of the RTD is key to the realisation of other rights and stated the Chinese Government’s commitment to this cause.  Similarly, in the keynote address, Mr. Liu Zhenmin, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, stated that China’s practice and experience on the RTD ‘serves as an example for other countries’. 
In the same vein, African countries were at the forefront in championing the RTD and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (African Commission) has made a tremendous contribution to the RTD jurisprudence. However, despite its seeming commitment to the RTD, Africa, unlike China, still grapples with poverty and underdevelopment and is home to some of the poorest countries in the world. This therefore gives rise to the need to pay closer attention to the RTD, if it can result to lifting millions of people from poverty as appears to be the case in China.
This begs the following questions: To what extent has China been committed to the RTD and how has this been demonstrated? What is the Chinese interpretation of the RTD? How has China implemented the RTD and what is the impact of such implementation? More importantly for the purposes of this paper, since the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs stated that China’s experience serves as an example to other countries, what lessons can African countries learn from such experience? I attempt to answer these questions in this chapter. The purpose of the chapter is to examine the Chinese interpretation and implementation of the RTD and identify lessons which African countries could learn from this. To further advance the RTD on the African continent, the article recommends that African States conduct microscopic and detailed analysis of the Chinese development model in order to identify further lessons.
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