Published: 11:20, June 20, 2024 | Updated: 18:07, June 20, 2024
Innovation key to sustainable growth, Macao IIICF hears
By Xu Weiwei in Macao
Officials pose for a photograph as the 15th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum opens in Macao on June 20, 2024. (ALICE ZHU / CHINA DAILY)

Green innovation is essential for the sustainable development of all countries while digital connectivity, one of the key drivers for social change, is an important infrastructure of the future, senior officials and experts said at the 15th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum.

Held from June 19 to 21 in Macao with the theme of this year’s forum is “Green Innovative Digital Connectivity”, the event seeks to combine China’s wisdom on global infrastructure cooperation to enable all countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) make further progress in jointly building infrastructure. The forum is organized by the China International Contractors Association and the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute.

Guo Tingting, China’s vice minister of commerce, said in her welcome address that under the guidance of the BRI the country seeks to promote the “hard connectivity” of infrastructure with the “soft connectivity” of rules and standards, and the “heart-to-heart connectivity” with the people of all countries. This will enable China to further contribute its wisdom to facilitate international cooperation on building infrastructure.

The 15th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum in Macao opens on June 20, 2024. (XU WEIWEI / CHINA DAILY)

Chinese companies have invested more than $350 billion in infrastructure, completed contracted projects in more than 200 countries and regions with a turnover of $2.4 trillion, and built a large number of low-carbon, environmentally friendly, digitally intelligent and interconnected projects that boost people's livelihood in the host countries, she noted.

Guo said it is important to continuously enhance the level of digital connectivity and seize opportunities for green development.

ALSO READ: CE proud Macao relying less on gaming

As the transformation of the global energy structure accelerates, the concept of jointly addressing climate change and promoting green and low-carbon economic development is deeply rooted in the hearts of many people.

To promote cooperation in green infrastructure, China’s Ministry of Commerce has signed memorandums of understanding on investment cooperation in the field of green economy with about 30 countries.

Onesimus Kipchumba Murkomen, cabinet secretary of the Ministry of Roads and Transport in Kenya, noted that the theme of this forum, “Green Innovative Digital Connectivity,” is timely and builds on the outcomes of the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

According to Murkomen, Kenya’s president William Ruto is a staunch advocate of the transformative power of infrastructure in driving economic and social progress.

Onesimus Kipchumba Murkomen, cabinet secretary of Ministry of Roads and Transport, Kenya, addresses the opening ceremony. (PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

He noted Kenya’s efforts to develop sustainable and modern infrastructure. The country’s transport network not only serves the Kenyan nation but also provides critical maritime access and a transit route to land-linked neighboring countries, including Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.

The region’s economic growth, propelled by a young and educated workforce as well as progressive development policies, has resulted in an increased demand for transport solutions. “Our challenge is to meet this demand in an efficient, affordable and environmentally sustainable manner,” he said.

Murkomen noted that embracing digital connectivity and the adoption of modern information technology in the planning, development and management of these multimodal transport corridors will result in smart transportation systems.

As Kenya finalizes its e-mobility policy and regulations, the country looks forward to extensive partnerships with China, a leader in this field, Murkomen added.

U Myo Thant, union minister of Ministry of Construction, Myanmar, gives his welcome address at the opening ceremony. (PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

U Myo Thant, Myanmar’s minister of construction, said the forum’s theme of “Green Innovative Digital Connectivity” serves as the guiding principle and pivotal focus of infrastructure development and investment in those nations involved in the China-led BRI.

“Myanmar has incorporated ecological protection, increasing renewable energy generation, increasing green investment, protecting biodiversity and improving waste management into its long-term strategy,” he said, citing both implementation of “green innovation” projects for the transport sector and the urban planning and housing sector in Myanmar.

The availability of meaningful and affordable digital connectivity should be a top policy priority, he added. “If the digital divide is not fully addressed, long-term growth would be delayed and the existing gaps (in development) between and within countries would widen.”

The welcome address of the forum was given by Fang Qiuchen, chairman of the China International Contractors Association.

In keynote speeches session, João Baptista Borges, minister of energy and water in Angola noted that Angola and China are in search of common paths for the social and economic development, with a long tradition of friendship and cooperation.

It also has a broad significance in China-Angola relations, occurring at a very particular moment in the development of their ties, marked by the recent visit of the President of the Republic of Angola to China on March 15, which culminated in the signing of several bilateral agreements.

Fang Qiuchen, chairman of the China International Contractors Association, chairs the opening session of the forum. CICA jointly organize the IIICF with the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute. (ALICE ZHU / CHINA DAILY)

The minister added that China is an important strategic partner of Angola, having a very significant participation in the different areas of the country's economic activity, namely in the construction of dams, water supply systems, roads, ports, airports, railways, technological centres, schools, etc., highlighting the ongoing project to build the Caculo Cabaça Hydroelectric Plant for the production of approximately 9,000 MW by 2027.

China's technical and technological capacity is one of the important areas that has provided many advantages and benefits to African countries, in particular, in the field of infrastructure and connectivity, such as China’s BRI, which has promoted the industrialisation of the African continent, with a relevant impact on the achievement of the African 2063 agenda for sustainable development, he noted.

Jean Jacques Bouya, minister of State from the Ministry of Land Planning, Infrastructure and Road Maintenance of Republic of Congo, said Congo has made developing digital infrastructure one of its national priorities for many years, and China remains our partner in successfully meeting this challenge, he said.

“Economic growth cannot occur without high-quality digital connectivity, thus we work with China in this respect,” he said, adding Chinese financial institutions’ support is critical to promoting development projects in line with the Belt and Road Initiative.

Aziz Abdukhakimov, minister of ecology, environmental protection and climate Change of Uzbekistan said that the pressing environmental challenges and the rapid technological advancements of this era compel people to “rethink, reshape, and reinvent our approach to infrastructure development”.

“As we gather here under the theme of ‘Green Innovative Digital Connectivity’, we stand at the crossroads of opportunity and responsibility,” he said.

Abdukhakimov added that in recent years, Uzbekistan has embarked on an ambitious journey to transform its infrastructure landscape.

Macao Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng and other guests inspect the venue and exhibits at the 15th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum in Macao on June 20, 2024. (PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Zhang Shaohui, vice-president of the Export-Import Bank of China, said that as global concerns about environmental protection and sustainability increase, governments and businesses are taking steps to reduce their negative impact on the environment. In this context, green finance has developed rapidly, and become an important measure to cope with climate change, and achieve the “double carbon” goal.

As a policy bank committed to supporting China's foreign trade and investment development and international economic cooperation, the Export-Import Bank of China has established a green credit strategy and proposed ESG management requirements, continuously enriched green financial products and services, strengthened international cooperation in the field of green finance, contributing to jointly building a green Belt and Road.

Lou Qiliang, chairman and president of the CRSC Corporation Limited, Wang Bin, president of the Power Construction Corporation of China, Ma Yunshuang, president of the CRRC Corporation Limited are among the speakers at the event.

Contact the writer at