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ITU secretary-general: ICT a foundation for development under Belt and Road Initiative

By Du Mingming (People's Daily Online)    15:33, May 23, 2017

(file photo)

"The Belt and Road Initiative recognizes the critical role played by information and communication technology (ICT) as a foundation for development," said Zhao Houlin, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in a recent interview with the People's Daily Online.

Zhao participated in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on May 14, during which ITU signed an agreement with China to collaborate on projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Zhao opined that China plays an important leadership role, in partnership with many others, to address some major challenges.

"The Belt and Road Initiative will lead to significant improvements in infrastructure, interconnectivity and collaboration between more than 60 countries," he said.

According to Zhao, the Belt and Road Initiative is complementary to ITU's mission of facilitating worldwide communication, as it "includes projects to expand ICT infrastructure and services, strengthening connections between participating countries and their neighbors."

In Zhao's opinion, together with roads, bridges, ports, airports and other traditional infrastructure, ICT networks form an essential part of the framework that enables employment, investment and growth today.

"[ICT networks] are essential to future prosperity. The Belt and Road Initiative recognizes this critical role played by ICTs as a foundation for development," Zhao stressed. He added that ITU and China are working together to implement ICT projects, which will enable growth and innovation across many industries.

However, while ICT services and telecom infrastructure have been dramatically improved in developing countries over the last decade, they still lag behind the ICT resources in developed areas. In order to connect those who are still without access, even greater efforts and investments will be required. In addition, it will greatly facilitate social and economic development to strengthen interconnectivity between neighboring countries. Zhao commented that the Belt and Road Initiative provides a good opportunity to engage residents of various regions to work together for a better future.

Because ICT infrastructure does require significant investment, Zhao emphasized that many developed and developing countries can find greater success and raise more funds by collaborating under the Belt and Road Initiative.

"Once this ICT infrastructure is in place, it will bring new capacities to surrounding local communities and open up new markets for business partners," he explained.

Chen Meng contributed to the story. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Mingming, Bianji)

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