Training Program on Development and Management of Economic Zones under the Belt and Road Initiatives held Successfully
Training Program on Development and Management of Economic Zones under the Belt and Road Initiative was held in a hybrid mode (face-to-face and virtually) on December 22nd and 23rd, 2020 which was jointly organized and hosted by Beijing Technology and Business University (BTBU) and ECO Science Foundation.
This 2-day Training Program, the first multilateral and international training organized by the “BTBU-ECOSF Joint Training Center on Scientific, Technological and Economic Cooperation” under Belt and Road Initiative, was attended by a total of more than 100 domestic and foreign trainees, both online and on-site. The training was co-chaired by Dr. Di Yuna, Director of the Joint Training Centre at BTBU and Engr. Khalil Raza, Scientific Officer of ECOSF.
China has achieved phenomenal economic growth, an unprecedented development over the last three decades. The fundamental attribute to this rapid socio-economic growth has been linked to the emergence of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and industrial clusters, which have been termed as important engines of China’s remarkable development. The training focused on SEZs and lessons from China for the other Belt and Road countries, including ECO Member States. Thus, the objective of holding this first workshop was to deepen the understanding of the evolving nature of SEZs and enhance human resource capacities to formulate and implement strategies for SEZs, as well as build the human resource capacity for development and expansion of regional value chains of economic corridors.
Prof. Jia Yingmin, Vice President of BTBU, attended its opening ceremony and delivered a speech. First thanking all the lecturers and participants both at home and overseas for attending the opening ceremony, Prof. Jia gave a brief introduction to the development of BTBU and of the BTBU-ECOSF Joint Training Center. Prof. Jia underlined that this training would prove to be very beneficial for the participants in understanding of development and management economic zones. He further said that this training program would serve as a platform for S&T, and economic exchanges among the BRI countries, and promote cooperation among countries in the field of the technology, economy, education and culture.
Following resource persons/experts conducted the training.
- Wang Yalin, Policy Analyst, Head of the Sustainable Investment and Business Group, UNDP China Representative Office;
- Feng He, Researcher, CNPC Economics & Technology Research Institute Overseas— A high-end think tank for BRI countries;
- Guo Yi, Professor, School of International Economics and Management Beijing Technology and Business University (BTBU);
- Syed Zakria Ali Shah, Chief Executive Officer of CPEC Authority (Pakistan);
- Zhao Fushou, Project Director, Silk Road Promotion Centre for International Production Capacity Cooperation;
- Zhang Yixiang, Deputy Dean, TEDA Overseas Research Institute, Assistant General Manager, China-Africa TEDA Investment Co.;
- Wang Xiaoguang, Director, CSR Promotion Centre, China Federation of Industrial Economics. Lecturers introduced the development, layout, management experience and future trends of BRI industrial parks.
Key takeaways of the training workshop
Experts demonstrated various policy and structural framework for development and management of economic zones in the context of Belt and Road Initiative. The resource persons presented a number of case studies of successful as well as not so successful models of SEZs. Based on the experiences of successful SEZ programs globally, the following are important:
- Strong government support is a key for any economic zones as part of the long-term national development strategy;
- Having a long-term vision is particularly important because economic transformation can take decades;
- A transparent legal and regulatory framework is critical to ensure the clarity of roles and responsibilities of various parties, and to provide protection and certainty to the developers and investors;
- An integrated and strategic coordination among various stakeholders is extremely important. For instance, an effective one-stop-shop services for customs, taxation, commodity inspection and quality inspection are important characteristics for any SEZ;
- In almost all the successful zones in the world, basic infrastructure is of high quality, and one-stop-shop services and aftercare are pre-requisite, which make them very attractive to investors;
- One of the highest priorities of any zone is to provide the customized and specialized education and training that generate, upgrade and deepen knowledge and skills appropriate to the localized needs;
- A strategic location with sound infrastructure, strong commercial viability, significant economic returns and strong link to regional and global markets are the fundamental attributes for any high performing economic zones.
With interactive discussion with participants, experts explored and identified the typical barriers and challenges to successful operations and management of SEZs. The training concluded that right policy and regularity framework, financial incentives and solid political support and adequately skilled labor are potentially some of the key ingredients for high performing SEZs in the region.
In the end, Prof. Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro, President ECOSF, in his concluding remarks appreciated the collaborating partner; BTBU and the trainers for their resourceful analysis and lectures and the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) for their strong support to the Joint Training Centre. Prof. Soomro emphasized that that participating countries need to establish and engage in an alliance for promotion of cross-border cooperation in the technology, engineering and infrastructure development sectors, to maximize the benefits of Belt and Road Initiative. Prof. Soomro further underlined that through this Training Program, the exchange and cooperation would be further strengthened between countries in many critical areas of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). On behalf of BTBU-ECOSF Joint Training Center, he assured full cooperation for organizing similar quality training programs for socio-economic growth to promote the sustainable development of the ECO Region and BRI at large.
It is important to mention that BTBU-ECOSF Joint Training Center on Scientific, Technological and Economic Cooperation under Belt and Road Initiative is an international cooperation platform which was launched earlier on September 25th, 2020, under the funding of China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) Program of International Collaboration Platform for Science and Technology Organizations in Belt and Road Countries. The Joint Training Centre aims to promote sustainable economic and social development in the BRI countries through training in technology application, industrial economy, S&T standards and science communication.
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