Published: 14:16, June 21, 2024
Innovation key to growth
By Xu Weiwei in Macao

Investment forum in Macao highlights BRI’s green trends for infrastructure and connectivity

Politicians and business leaders gather at the 15th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum in Macao. (PROVIDED TO 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, according to the 15th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum, held from June 19 to 21 in Macao.

Themed as “Green Innovative Digital Connectivity” this year, the IIICF 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, said Fang Qiuchen, chairman of the China International Contractors Association. The forum is jointly organized by the CICA 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.

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.

To promote cooperation in green infrastructure, the 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.

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.

“Our challenge is to meet this demand in an efficient, affordable and environmentally sustainable manner,” he said.

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, 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.

The availability of meaningful and affordable digital connectivity should be a top policy priority, he added.

In his keynote speech, Angolan Minister of Energy and Water Joao Baptista Borges noted that the forum brings together businesspeople from Angola and China along common paths.

Borges noted that China’s technical and technological capacity is one of the important areas that has provided many advantages and benefits to African countries.

The Republic of the Congo’s Min- ister for Land Planning, Infrastruc- ture and Road Maintenance Jean Jacques Bouya said developing digital infrastructure has been a national priority for many years.

China remains our partner in successfully meeting this challenge, he said.

Uzbekistan’s Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection, and Climate Change Aziz Abdukhakimov noted the current challenges.

The pressing environmental challenges and rapid technological advancements of this era compel people to “rethink, reshape, and reinvent our approach to infrastructure development”, he said.

Zhang Shaohui, vice-president of the Export-Import Bank of China, said the bank is contributing to jointly building a green Belt and Road.

He said the bank established a green credit strategy, proposed ESG management requirements, continuously enriched green financial products and services, and strengthened international cooperation in green finance.