The launch ceremony of “The Belt and Road Infrastructure Development Index 2021” and “The Belt and Road Infrastructure Development Index Report 2021” was held today (22 July) during the 12th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum (12th IIICF). In addition to forecasting the short-term trends of the infrastructure sector, the Report also highlights Macao elements, and provides suggestions on how Macao can seize such opportunities as the 14th Five-Year Plan and the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
Promoting Infrastructure Interconnectivity and Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries
According to the Report, Macao has close trade relations with countries along the Belt and Road routes, and its trade volume with Portuguese-speaking countries is increasing rapidly. The establishment of the China-Portuguese-speaking Countries Co-operation and Development Fund has spurred the investment of Chinese companies in Portuguese-speaking countries. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, the Fund continuously intensifies its focus on infrastructure, clean energy, medical and health care in Portuguese-speaking countries, and contributes to Macao’s positioning as “One Centre, One Platform” as well as its modern finance and green finance services. In May 2021, Macao set up the Working Committee for Integrating into National Development to coordinate the works for the overall strategy regarding Macao’s participation in and contribution to the country’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, so as to further integrate Macao into the Belt and Road’s construction and coordinate its corresponding efforts. Heavily involved in the Belt and Road’s construction, Macao has been placed at a crucial intersection point of “dual circulation” during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, and will play an important role in facilitating infrastructure interconnectivity and co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.
Infrastructure Development in Countries along the Belt and Road Routes Showing Strong Resilience
Chairman of the China International Contractors Association Fang Qiuchen said at the press conference that the overall features and trends reflected in the Report are as follows. First, the overall Belt and Road Infrastructure Development Index (BRIDI) has rallied. Due to the improvement of economic conditions and the acceleration of COVID-19 vaccination worldwide, infrastructure in countries along the Belt and Road routes has gradually demonstrated a trend of recovery and development. Second, Southeast Asia comes out top, and Portuguese-speaking countries see a significant rise in their score and ranking (to third place), which is higher than the average rise of other regions. Third, infrastructure construction in the field of livelihoods has noticeably sped up, and infrastructure development preferences have changed. Fourth, carbon neutrality has become the new direction for infrastructure development, with new energy becoming a key area that all parties prioritise. Fifth, regional trade agreements have promoted the upgrading of infrastructure co-operation, and stimulated the infrastructure needs of relevant countries in the fields of housing, industrial parks, electrical energy, transport, etc., thus generating more development opportunities for all parties. Sixth, environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) has become a new requirement for international infrastructure co-operation. To keep investment and financing risks under control and address climate change, corporate ESG ratings and ESG management of projects have become important factors when international financial institutions and investors decide whether to provide financial assistance.
The Report also puts forward four policy suggestions. First, strengthening intergovernmental co-operation and implementing multilateral co-operation agreements that have been established or signed. Second, enhancing the collaborative capacity of financial institutions, accelerating the mutual recognition of rules, improving co-operation platforms, and meeting the financing needs of all parties. Third, reinforcing the strength of companies in all aspects and improving localised operation, risk prevention and control, and so on. Fourth, optimising the business structure of companies, adhering to green development, and upgrading co-operation in Belt and Road infrastructure projects.
“The Belt and Road Infrastructure Development Index 2021” and “The Belt and Road Infrastructure Development Index Report 2021” have been uploaded to www.chinca.org.