The new round of technological and industrial revolutions is unfolding before us. Digital economy and sharing economy are surging worldwide, and breakthroughs have been made in new technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum science. We in the Asia-Pacific cannot afford to be just onlookers. What we should do is to seize the opportunity, increase input in innovation, change the model of development and nurture new growth areas. We should promote structural reform, remove all institutional and systemic barriers to innovation and energize the market. We should implement the APEC Accord on Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth adopted in Beijing, deepen cooperation on the internet and digital economy and strive to be a global leader of innovative growth.
Third, we should continue to enhance connectivity and achieve interconnected development. Interconnected development is the best way to achieve mutual benefit and win-win outcome. We the Asia-Pacific economies are closely connected, and our interests are interlocked. Such an interconnected development will both open up new horizon for our own development, and create driving force for us all to achieve common development as partners. In 2014, the APEC Connectivity Blueprint was formulated. This Blueprint should guide our efforts to build a comprehensive, all-round and multi-tiered Asia-Pacific connectivity network. We should boost the real economy through the building of connectivity, break bottlenecks to development and unlock potentials. With these efforts, we can achieve coordinated and interconnected development.
In May this year, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was successfully held in Beijing. The Belt and Road Initiative calls for joint contribution and it has a clear focus, which is to promote infrastructure construction and connectivity, strengthen coordination on economic policies, enhance complementarity of development strategies and boost interconnected development to achieve common prosperity. This initiative is from China, but it belongs to the world. It is rooted in history, but it is oriented toward the future. It focuses on the Asian, European and African continents, but it is open to all partners. I am confident that the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative will create a broader and more dynamic platform for Asia-Pacific cooperation.
Fourth, we should continue to make economic development more inclusive and deliver its benefits to our people. The current headwinds confronting economic globalization is mostly generated by the lack of inclusiveness in development. Hard work is still needed if we are to bring the benefits of development to countries across the globe and people across our society, and thus turn our vision into reality.
Over the past few years, we have actively explored ways to promote inclusive development and have built strong consensus about it. We should deepen regional economic integration, develop an open and inclusive market and strengthen the bond of shared interests. We should make inclusiveness and sharing a part of our development strategies, improve systems and institutions to uphold efficiency and fairness, and safeguard social equity and justice. We should invest more in education, medical care, employment and other areas that are important to people's livelihood, and address poverty and the widening gap between the rich and the poor. We should reach out to disadvantaged groups, improve business environment for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and enable the workforce to better adapt to industrial transformation, so that everyone will have his fair share of opportunity and benefits.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As an old Chinese saying goes, a commitment, once made, should be delivered. Boosting development in the Asia-Pacific requires real actions by all of us members. As the world's second largest economy, China knows fully well its responsibility. Over the past five years, we have taken proactive steps to adapt to, manage and steer the new normal of China's economy and deepened supply-side structural reform. As a result, China's economy has maintained steady performance, and we are pursuing better-quality, more efficient, fairer and more sustainable development. Over the past four years, China's economy has grown by 7.2% on the average annually, contributing over 30% of global growth. China is now a main driver powering global growth.
We have worked hard to remove systematical institutional barriers that impede development through comprehensive reform. As many as 360 major reform initiatives and more than 1,500 reform measures have been taken. Breakthroughs have been made in key areas, and general frameworks for reform have been put in place in major sectors. We have sped up efforts to build new institutions of the open economy and transform models of foreign trade and outbound investment to continue the shift from quantitative to qualitative improvement in trade.
We have advanced theoretical, practical, institutional, cultural and other explorations to unleash new impetus for growth. China has become a huge platform where all factors and players of innovation converge to make a real difference. From infrastructure to various economic sectors, from business models to ways of consumption, innovation is leading the way.
We have pursued a people-centered philosophy of development to make our development more inclusive and beneficial to all. Individual income has registered sustained growth, outpacing GDP growth for many years. Income gaps between urban and rural areas and between different regions have been narrowing, middle-income group expanding, and Gini coefficient dropping. More than 13 million new urban jobs have been created every year for four consecutive years. Significant advances have been made in pursuing green development, resulting in considerable reduction in the intensity of energy and resource consumption and marked improvement in the ecological environment.
To lift all the remaining poor people out of poverty is a solemn commitment made by the Chinese government to the people. It is uppermost in my mind, and I have spent more energy on poverty alleviation than anything else. Over the past five years, I have been to many poor areas in China to pin down the causes of poverty and address them in a targeted way. As a result, decisive progress has been made in the fight against poverty. Over the past five years, we have lifted more than 60 million people out of poverty. The poverty headcount ratio has declined, and per capita rural income in poor areas has maintained double-digit growth. This has not come easily, and we are proud of what we have achieved in poverty alleviation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China's development is an evolving historical process. Last month, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was successfully convened in Beijing. Responding to our people's desire for a better life, the Congress formulated a guide to action and a development blueprint for China in the new era. It is envisaged that by 2020, China will turn itself into a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and by 2035, China will basically realize socialist modernization. By the middle of this century, China will become a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally-advanced, harmonious and beautiful. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people will embark on a new journey. (more)