Macau has an important role to play as a “knowledge centre” in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) project, according to some of the leading Sino-Lusophone researchers.
At a session organised by the International Institute of Macau (IIM) on 24 October to launch the book “The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area: The Challenge of the Century for Macau,” the fact that the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) is one of the four major cities of the GBA, along with Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong was the focal point of the guest experts’ speeches.
Francisco Leandro of the City University of Macau told Macauhub that “the potential of the greater bay will be revealed by its networks – infrastructure, laboratory, academic, economic, institutional, industrial, technological, investment, consumer and production – and the associated market needs.”
“These needs are precisely the basis of cooperation between China, Macau and Portuguese-speaking countries,” he said.
In this context, according to Leandro, the MSAR should be a multicultural, multisectoral trading platform with five main areas – Chinese dominant cultural platform, financial and legal services platform, economic and commercial platform, education and knowledge platform and a platform for international external relations.
“Macau has to be excellent – beyond gambling – in culture, economics, finance, law and education. Macau has to be what it always has been, but this time with the ability to understand the opportunity to contribute to making China’s dreams a reality,” he told Macauhub.
Luís Sales Marques, president of the Institute of European Studies of Macau (IEEM), said that the MSAR, “has immense responsibilities in carrying out the initiative and will have to work hard and without hesitation to fulfil its intended functions.”
“In order for the MSAR to be able to fulfil its functions, it must focus more on its openness abroad, namely by becoming a reference point in China, for cultural and academic relations not only with Portuguese-speaking countries, but also with Spanish-speaking countries, given the ease of connecting from Portugal and Brazil with the Iberian world,” Sales Marques told Macauhub.
According to the head of IEEM, Macau companies and professionals, “will be able to benefit from the Greater Bay market and relations,” that the region has, but this means “opening up the (Macau) labour market and promoting the establishment of professionals from the region and abroad with skills to assist with development and economic diversification.”
The same need to attract “talent,” highly qualified staff, namely by removing existing obstacles, was stressed at the event held at the Military Club of Macau by IIM President Jorge Rangel.
Researcher Fernanda Ilhéu, from the Higher Institute of Economics and Management (Portugal) and the Association of Friends of the New Silk Road, noted that the Belt and Road Initiative “aims to reduce barriers and get countries to work together, taking advantage of the complementarity of competitive advantages with a new spirit based on knowledge, relationship, trust and cooperation.”
“Macau in the Greater Bay Area will play an important role in the Belt and Road initiative if it becomes an excellent centre for China’s knowledge, relationship and cooperation with Portuguese-speaking countries and South-East Asian countries,” she told Macauhub.
The book “The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area: The Challenge of the Century for Macau,” coordinated by Gonçalo César de Sá, is authored by José Luís Sales Marques, Paulo Figueiredo, Louise do Rosario and Mark O’Neill.