Significant investments in technology will enable collaboration and spur economic growth in nations along the New Silk Road which in turn can boost the region’s GDP by 4-7 percent, says a World Economic Forum study.
By focusing on the adoption and implementation of new technologies that improve infrastructure efficiency, companies could achieve real-time supply chain visibility, it said.
That will also eliminate inconsistencies in customs clearances, reduce overall operating costs and increase the speed of goods transported along routes between Europe, Asia and beyond, it added.
Small and medium-sized enterprises along the routes of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative often referred to as the New Silk Road can boost the GDP of their countries by 4 percent to 7 percent as a result of increased market access.
Lack of access to global markets is currently their main impediment to growth.
“Everything from the planning of services to the execution of supply chain operations can be improved by providing countries with new IT infrastructure able to manage small and big data for a steady flow of goods across this vast region,” said Wolfgang Lehmacher, Director, Head of Supply Chain and Transport at the World Economic Forum.
The study noted that IT infrastructure advances and innovative digital capabilities could significantly lower labour and other direct costs for companies.
“Having the right technology in place is the only way that the New Silk Road will define the future of trade between East and West,” said Gerry Mattios, Principal, Bain & Company, People’s Republic of China, and co-author of the report.
Through the One Belt, One Road initiative – one of the biggest infrastructure projects of the 21st century – China and partnering countries aim to transform and develop a region that holds 70 percent of the global population and 55 percent of the global GDP through improved trade and technology.