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ADB renews push for 2 initiatives

June 25, 2019

Two subregional development initiatives in Southeast Asia recently got renewed support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

In a statement on Sunday, ADB President Takehiko Nakao commended the Indonesia–Malaysia–Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT–GT) and the Brunei Darussalam–Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP–EAGA).

“I would like to commend IMT–GT and BIMP–EAGA countries on their significant economic cooperation in recent decades, as Southeast Asia has become more resilient, inclusive, sustainable, and economically competitive,” Nakao said.

The subregions’ economies continue to show resilience in the face of rising global trade tensions, with robust domestic demand helping to sustain growth, and policymakers well positioned to deal with any potential volatility. The two subregional initiatives constitute important building blocks for the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

“ADB is committed to continuing its support for these subregional programs as a financier, honest broker, provider of knowledge, and a facilitator in leveraging public and private resources for regional investments,” Nakao said.

The ADB has served as regional development partner to IMT–GT since 1993, and regional development advisor to BIMP–EAGA in 1994. ADB provides financial and technical assistance to both programs.

ADB’s collaboration with IMT–GT includes support for integrated green urban transport plans, the promotion of economic corridors, and various initiatives that foster transport and trade links. IMT–GT has 41 physical connectivity projects for 2017–2021 valued at $47 billion.

“The IMT–GT initiative has delivered remarkable gains including improved connectivity, stronger institutional networks, and enhanced government capacities,” Nakao said.

Nakao attended the 12th IMT–GT Leaders’ Summit with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

BIMP–EAGA, meanwhile, has supported the expansion of transport networks and cross-border energy projects, and initiatives that contribute to more vibrant trade. BIMP–EAGA has 69 priority infrastructure projects for 2017–2025 valued at more than $22.5 billion. ADB support includes loans for the upgrading of North Kalimantan, Indonesia’s power system and the enhancement of key road networks in Mindanao, Philippines.

“Our enduring partnership with BIMP–EAGA has been productive and has substantially contributed to advancing prosperity in the subregion,” Nakao said.

Nakao also attended the 13th BIMP–EAGA Leaders’ Summit with the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Widodo, Mahathir, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. The program is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members with 49 coming from the region.

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