China's Digital Silk Road will promote global sustainable development and the application of big data to solve more challenges, said Guo Huadong, a professor at the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
Guo made the remarks on Sept. 4 during a three-day conference on climate, ecosystems and livelihood for Africa in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Dozens of African and Chinese scientists are attending the conference to explore ways to collaborate to revitalize the green agenda in Africa.
At the same time, the UN Environment Program (UNEP), the World Academy of Sciences, the CAS, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China have organized dialogues for scientists.
Guo said that the Digital Silk Road is tasked to enhance knowledge sharing on sustainable development and green growth.
"The Digital Silk Road is part of the Belt and Road Initiative and focuses on collection and sharing of big data among countries for application in fields that advances human welfare," Guo said.
Guo said that African countries could benefit from the roll-out of a Digital Silk Road, which will be implemented in three phases.
"Smart use of big data will enable African countries to respond better to climate change and natural disasters. The application in agriculture will boost food security," he said.
He said the initial implementation phase of the Digital Silk Road involves setting up support infrastructure, recruitment of personnel and forging partnerships among countries within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
"The second implementation phase of the Digital Silk Road will focus on data collection and analysis to inform decision-making," said Guo. "Countries require data-driven solutions to achieve sustainable development goals."
He pointed out that developing countries will benefit from access to big data, which could help deal with social, economic and environmental challenges, such as ecological disasters like droughts and floods.