PHNOM PENH, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has promoted sustainable growth, green development and digital innovation, a Cambodian expert said on Friday.
Neak Chandarith, director of the Cambodia 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Research Center, said recognizing the importance of sustainable development, the BRI has promoted green and sustainable practices.
"This includes encouraging the use of renewable energy sources, ecological conservation, and biodiversity protection," he told Xinhua. "The BRI emphasizes sustainable resource management and environmental cooperation among participating countries."
Chandarith said in recent years, the BRI has demonstrated a growing commitment to environmental concerns, responding to global anxieties over coal-fired power plants and other large-scale infrastructure projects.
"The establishment of a 'green BRI' emphasizes the importance of adhering to international best practices in environmental risk management," he said.
The expert said the BRI has also acknowledged the significance of digital connectivity and innovation in an era of rapid technological advancement.
"It seeks to bridge the digital divide by promoting high-speed Internet networks, e-commerce, and digital infrastructure development, and the areas of cooperation include 5G networks, artificial intelligence, e-commerce, and the development of smart cities," he said.
The BRI consists of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It was initiated by China in 2013 to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa on and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes.
For Cambodia, Chandarith said the BRI's infrastructure development projects such as roads, bridges, hydropower plants, airports, ports, expressways and the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone have improved transportation networks, attracted foreign investment and boosted trade.
"These developments have the potential to spur economic diversification, create jobs, and alleviate poverty, empowering communities and improving the quality of life for millions of people," he said.
He added that the BRI's future in the Southeast Asian country is intricately tied to the principles of sustainable growth, green development and digital innovation, saying that the kingdom envisions a path that embraces environmental sustainability and the utilization of green technologies.
"This commitment not only ensures a healthier environment but also aligns with global goals for climate action," he said.
Furthermore, he said, the BRI's future in Cambodia includes a strong emphasis on digital innovation.
"With the rapid advancement of technology, Cambodia aims to bridge the digital divide, promote e-commerce and foster the development of smart cities. These innovations will not only drive economic progress but also enhance the quality of life for Cambodians," he said.
Chandarith said Cambodia's vision of sustainable growth, green development and digital innovation will contribute to the broader success of the BRI. ■