US economist Jeffrey Sachs says Hong Kong and China are at the forefront of helping the world achieve sustainable development. Speaking on RTHK's Hong Kong Today programme, the Columbia University professor was in Hong Kong to receive an honorary doctorate in social sciences from The Chinese University.
Sachs described China as being at the forefront of green technology, saying it was the low-cost producer of solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and 5G connectivity.
"This puts China - and Hong Kong as the great financial centre of China and the world, I should add - this puts this region really in the forefront, not only of transformation ahead within East Asia but, I would say, for the whole world," he said.
And Sachs said China's Belt and Road initiative would mean Asia and Africa being the beneficiaries of this new infrastructure.
"Because initiatives like China's Belt and Road initiative - and I think Hong Kong helping to provide a lot of financing of that as well - means that the Asean region, or Africa, or western and central Asia not only will be beneficiaries of this transformative infrastructure; but this will be a great benefit for China, and I'd say Hong Kong, for the years ahead, as a really core vocation for this region in helping the whole world to achieve sustainable development."
But Sachs called nations to develop their economies in an inclusive and sustainable way.
"Sustainable development means that there is economic prosperity, social inclusion - meaning that no minority groups or girls and women, or people in difficult geographies, are left behind - and all of this is done with environmental sustainability," he said.