The Belt and Road (B&R) Forum for International Co-operation taking place in Beijing has got the Macau delegation thinking how the local government and people should prepare themselves for participation in the large-scale project and how to adopt a new mindset to grasp new opportunities resulting from the intercontinental undertaking.
Heads of states and government from 29 countries and hundreds of other leaders of the international community attended yesterday’s opening ceremony of the two-day forum at the China National Convention Centre (CNCC) in Beijing.
Led by Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On, the 16-member Macau delegation also attended the forum and various sessions on different topics held concurrently. Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam Chon Weng and Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac were also members of the delegation.
Having participated in the forum’s Thematic Session on People-to-People Connectivity yesterday, Executive Council spokesman Leong Heng Teng told The Macau Post Daily afterwards that as Macau is a special administrative region of the nation it ought to keep up with the pace of the B&R Initiative, whether it’s the government or the business sector, including the commercial and financial sectors.
According to The Macau Post Daily, Leong said that participating in the forum has allowed him to better understand the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, as proposed by the central government’s B&R Initiative. Leong said that the forum has also inspired him to consider how the B&R Initiative can stimulate cities along the route and even Macau as they head towards a new world order of “policy coordination”, “facilities connectivity”, “unimpeded trade”, “financial integration” and “people to people bonds”.
Leong said the forum has also changed his perspective of the B&R Initiative from being only limited to economic development along the Belt and Route to areas related to people’s livelihood issues such as education, scientific research, media, culture, and health care.
Leong pointed out that in order for Macau to keep up with the pace of the B&R Initiative, the city first needs to do well on its existing projects, namely to become a world tourism and leisure centre and a platform for economic and trade relations between China and Portuguese-speaking countries”, as well as to become an integral part of the “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area, especially in terms of tourism diversification.
Leong is a veteran civic leader and former lawmaker.
After attending the Thematic Session on Infrastructure Connectivity, lawmaker-cum-businessman Chan Meng Kam told The Macau Post Daily that as the B&R Initiative will speed up infrastructure development and improve connectivity, it will result in economic growth in major cities and strengthen Macau’s economic and external trade activities.
Chan said this was a rare opportunity that could promote the adequately diversified development of Macau’s economy.
Chan said that the B&R Initiative is the country’s big strategy for global development and has been widely accepted by many countries.
Chan pointed out that construction projects such as road infrastructures and port logistics in cities along the Belt and Road are already being discussed, and as soon as they are built, it would make the maritime and land-based facilities more convenient, smoother, closer connected and highly efficient.
Chan said the forum was proof that many foreign countries place extreme importance on the B&R Initiative and want to grasp every opportunity and collaborate with China to enjoy the benefits available for all. Chan pointed out that Macau is a small region, but as the B&R Initiative is promoting connectivity, it will bring in new development opportunities also for Macau.
The Macau delegation is returning home today.
The local government set up a special committee on supporting the B&R Initiative in February.