Delivering a speech at Tuesday’s opening ceremony of the first conference of the International Science, Technology, and Innovation Forum (ISTIF) of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council Vice-Director Zhang Xiaoming urged Macao to strengthen its role in the nation’s development strategy in science and technology innovation.
The ISTIF is jointly organised by the BFA and the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) government. The three-day conference, themed “Innovation Empowers Sustainable Development”, ends today. Some of its sessions began on Monday.
Zhang said that the BFA’s choice to host the first conference of the ISTIF in Macao has not only demonstrated the city’s advantages in the development of the convention and exhibition industry, but also showed the BFA’s optimism about Macao’s development prospects and its confidence in the development of an international science and technology innovation centre in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA).
Zhang said that Macao is going through a critical period of building on its achievements and overcoming difficulties, adding that under the leadership of Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng, the local government has been working hard. He pointed out that the local government quickly and efficiently brought the COVID-19 epidemic under control, rolled out various measures to recover the city’s economy, come up with solutions to improve people’s livelihoods and actively integrate Macao into the nation’s overall development.
Motherland is Macao’s strongest backing
Zhang said that Macao compatriots have been increasingly aware that the motherland is the strongest backing for Macao and that the “One Country, Two Systems” principle is the best system for maintaining the city’s long-term prosperity and stability.
Zhang pointed out that in a meeting with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in Beijing last week, Vice-Premier Han Zheng said that the central government fully supports anything that is conducive to maintaining Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability, enhancing the wellbeing of Hong Kong compatriots and promoting the integrated development of the mainland and Hong Kong. Zhang said that the central government’s three principles mentioned by Han for Hong Kong are also applicable to Macao.
Zhang said that in the nation’s new dual-cycle economic development pattern with the domestic cycle as the mainstay and with domestic and international development reinforcing each other, Hong Kong and Macao, as the intersection of the dual cycles, have many unique advantages in terms of their respective integrations into both the domestic and international cycles.
Zhang said that Macao’s economy has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, giving the city a lesson and highlighting the necessity and urgency for the local government to push ahead with economic diversification.
Zhang said that he believed that the ISTIF will enable the local government and the various segments of the city’s civil society, including the science, academic and business sectors, to reach a consensus on Macao’s further development in seven aspects.
According to Zhang, the first one is to use science and technology innovation as a breakthrough to solve the difficulties for Macao to diversify its economy.
Secondly, Zhang urged Macao to more actively integrate itself into the GBA development and the nation’s development strategy in science and technology innovation, to make itself an important part of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Macao Science and Technology Innovation Corridor, and enable itself to become an important base for science and technology innovation on the west bank of the Pearl River Delta region.
According to Zhang, the third one is to make good use of its role as a service platform and intermediary for science and technology innovation cooperation between China and certain countries with which Macao has extensive connections, the Portuguese-speaking countries (PSCs) in particular.
Fourthly, Zhang urged Macao to meticulously plan for the joint development of Hengqin, including the planning of the science and technology innovation industry there and the promotion of system innovations that are conducive to the development of science and technology.
Fifthly, Zhang urged Macao to cautiously select the development of certain science and technology innovation projects that are suitable for its own situation.
According to Zhang, the sixth one is to attract scientifically and technologically qualified professionals from the mainland and elsewhere to Macao for business start-ups, such as by formulating favourable policies and measures.
According to Zhang, the seventh is to pragmatically solve the various difficulties encountered by young local people in their business start-ups in the science and technology field, enabling them to become the main force in the development of science and technology innovation and the biggest beneficiaries of Macao’s integration into the national development.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macao News)
PHOTO © Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office