Sci-tech cooperation is shining a spotlight on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with a number of deals inked, labs launched and talent fostered, officials said at the "Belt and Road" Seminar of the Pujiang Innovation Forum.
The BRI, in its 10th year this year, has seen China sign more than 200 cooperation agreements with 152 countries and 32 international organizations.
Sci-tech cooperation with BRI countries was underlined by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2017, alongside economic ties.
Over the past six years, China has established nearly 10 overseas technology transfer platforms in regions including South Asia, Africa, Latin America, Arab countries, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said Dai Gang, director-general of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Science and Technology.
China has launched 53 joint labs with 40 BRI countries in sectors such as agriculture, health, and the environment, and carried out cooperation with nine countries in terms of sci-tech parks, he said, adding that China has also trained more than 15,000 researchers from the BRI countries.
Hu Zhijian, chief researcher and former president at the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development, said that more than 3 billion yuan (US$414 million) had been provided to support 1,000-plus joint research projects in the labs.
"What we need to explore further is how to absorb more developed countries into our sci-tech cooperation, and make further efforts to address economic recessions, food shortages, and other common headaches for developing countries," Hu said.
He said that more international cooperation between governments is being carried out, and an open innovation ecosystem is hoped for to better integrate governments, companies, universities, and other market aspects.
Mlungisi Cele (left) and Adriano Proença (right) take part in the "Belt and Road" Seminar.
Adriano Proença, senior fellow at the Brazilian Center of International Relations, proposed two concepts: a "Digital Silk Road" and "Knowledge Silk Road".
He said that a great number of opportunities have appeared in China as the country embraces the digital era. Advanced technologies emerging in China can support Brazilian companies to grow, and advanced experiences learnt from their Chinese counterparts can inspire those companies to innovate.
When talking about the prospects of further cooperation among BRI countries, Hu offered two keywords: digitalization and green. "Most of the BRI members are developing countries, and digitalization will give a strong impetus," he said.
Proença said Brazil is looking forward to co-developing green energy solutions with China, such as renewable energy and distributed energy.
For South Africa, the green energy solution is solar energy, said Mlungisi Cele, acting head of South Africa's National Advisory Council on Innovation.
Public hygiene was another very promising sector. During the COVID pandemic, South Africa showed the world its capability to recognize viruses, while China performed very well in the fight against the virus. The two countries could work together in terms of innovation in the public hygiene sector, he said.
When looking at China, Cele said that science and technology has played a crucial role in supporting the country's social security, public transportation, agriculture, and other aspects. Therefore, South Africa could learn from China how to build innovation parks, alleviate poverty, and address other common problems.
Source: SHINE Editor: Li Qian