The Digital Silk Road is of great interest for Serbia

By Maja Stefanovic (People's Daily Online) 13:39, August 15, 2023

Maja Stefanovic, ambassador of Serbia to China. (Photo provided by the Embassy of Serbia in China)

The originally Chinese, but in fact a global initiative, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with its inclusive character, is currently one of the most important ideas and tools that can enable us to reach the goal of global progress and stability, as it is based on commonality, comprehensiveness and cooperation. Now, on the 10th anniversary since its initiation, the BRI is having even bigger importance.

The infrastructure connectivity is a prerequisite and a bases for the development of each country. The concrete results of the engagement of my country in the BRI in recent decade, can be seen in numerous projects particularly in the field of traffic infrastructure and energy. New highways in Serbia along the route of the Corridor 10 and 11, as well as modernization of railway between Serbia and Hungary, construction of ring roads and bridges, are the most visible projects at the moment.

As it has been already mentioned many times, the participation of Serbia in the implementation of the BRI, has contributed to the better visibility of potentials of Serbia in the business circles in China, as well as on the global level. It can be considered that the arrival of successful Chinese investments in Serbia, such as the acquisition of the Copper Mining Complex – Bor by the Zijin corporation, as well as the privatization of the Smederevo Steel Mill by HBIS, are the direct results of the better visibility of Serbia. Almost 30,000 working places were secured by abovementioned investments, which is a concrete proof of the positive impact of those investment.

When it comes to Serbia’s engagement within the BRI, I believe that we have reached an important milestone at this point, and having in mind our potentials, we are ready to widen our participation in other fields of cooperation within the Initiative. The Government of Serbia has identified the IT industry as economic priority for the country’s competitiveness, and in that sense the Digital Silk Road that represents high technology dimension of the BRI, with the aim of improving digital connectivity of the participant countries is of great interest for my country. As one of the fastest growing economies in the Western Balkans, Serbia is turning into an attractive destination for international investors looking for new business opportunities, especially in the field of IT industry, innovations and artificial intelligence.

The Institute for Artificial Intelligence of Serbia was established two years ago, in line with our goal to become a regional leader in the development of global AI solutions and biotechnology. Furthermore, another major project with focus on biomedicine, biotechnology, bioinformatics and biodiversity is being developed, and that project is the construction of BIO4 campus.

Digitalization and the fourth industrial revolution provide a unique opportunity for many countries to leap forward. China has enormous potentials for cooperation in the field of digital infrastructure designed to connect and integrate partners of the Digital Silk Road. In that sense, we embrace new opportunities for cooperation with China in digital sphere and eagerly welcome new joint projects in the future.

Furthermore, we cannot neglect potentials for cooperation within the BRI in other fields, such as environment protection, green development, agriculture, education, health and media too.

I would like to underline that we have great expectations from the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and are ready to make additional efforts in order to further enhance cooperation within the initiative in the next decade.

Maja Stefanovic is ambassador of Serbia to China.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Du Mingming)


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