The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Singapore’s Infrastructure Asia today signed a cooperation agreement to help governments in Southeast Asia adopt innovative and green finance approaches develop bankable and sustainable infrastructure projects in the region, where the annual infrastructure investment needs are estimated at US$210 billion until 2030.
The agreement was signed during the Asia Infrastructure Forum in Singapore by ADB Director General for Southeast Asia, Mr. Ramesh Subramaniam and Executive Director Mr. Seth Tan for Infrastructure Asia, a project facilitation office established by the Singapore government to help regional governments better develop, finance and execute their infrastructure projects.
Specifically, the agreement will allow ADB and Infrastructure Asia to work with state-owned enterprises, as well as regional and municipal governments, in Southeast Asia to improve their institutional, financial, and governance capacities for developing innovative and green infrastructure programs and projects.
To achieve this, the two organisations will launch the Innovative Finance Lab for Sustainable Infrastructure, a virtual space supported by a biannual event in Singapore, to gather stakeholders across Southeast Asia together to exchange knowledge, improve their policy-making capacities, and foster the adoption of innovative and green finance models in local infrastructure projects.
“Southeast Asia faces significant financing gaps in meeting its infrastructure needs, including for climate change mitigation and adaptation costs,” said Mr. Subramaniam. “We need innovative financing approaches to mitigate risks in infrastructure projects and better leverage public funds, so that many more funds are catalyzed from private and institutional sources to support greener, cleaner and timely infrastructure development.”
“Projects structured with better financial and technical elements, along with good partnerships, are key to helping improve the bankability of Asia’s sustainable infrastructure projects,” said Mr. Tan. “Through this collaboration with ADB, Infrastructure Asia will work in close consultation with the international financing, credit enhancement, and technology ecosystem in Singapore to improve municipalities and state-owned enterprises’ access to private capital.”
The Innovative Finance Lab will also serve as a capacity-building platform for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF), which was launched in April 2019 to boost the development of green infrastructure projects across ASEAN by catalysing public and private capital and technologies.
The ACGF is part of the Green and Inclusive Infrastructure Window, launched by Southeast Asian governments, ADB, and major development financiers under the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund, a regional financing initiative established in 2011 that has committed $520 million for energy, transport, water, and urban infrastructure projects across the subregion. ACGF aims to mobilize around $1.3 billion from a number of sources, including the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund, the ADB, the German development cooperation through KfW, the European Investment Bank, the Republic of Korea, and Agence Française de Développement. The facility is also supported by other entities, including the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Global Green Growth Institute, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
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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—49 from the region.
About Infrastructure Asia
Infrastructure Asia (IA) aims to support Asia’s social and economic growth through infrastructure development. IA was established by Enterprise Singapore and Monetary Authority of Singapore to support infrastructure financing and development in the region. It does so through early project scoping, best practice sharing and brokering, harnessing Singapore’s best-in-class infrastructure ecosystem (international developers, engineering and professional services, along with financial institutions and multilateral development entities). It also works with global players in the regional infrastructure ecosystem and leverages the collective capabilities and networks of various government agencies to catalyse more trade and investments into infrastructure in the region.