Launch of Infrastructure Asia to serve as one-stop platform to facilitate regional infrastructure collaboration

Infrastructure Asia, led by Enterprise Singapore and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, was officially launched today. Infrastructure Asia aims to support Asia’s economic and social growth through infrastructure development. It will serve as a bridge for different industry players across the infrastructure ecosystem, multilateral development banks (MDBs) and the public sector, and be a one-stop platform for the information exchange and sharing of best practices in Asia.

The official launch took place at Enterprise Singapore’s 8th Asia-Singapore Infrastructure Roundtable (ASIR) in Singapore, where Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat was the Guest of Honour. At the event, Infrastructure Asia signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with the World Bank Group and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) to catalyse project collaboration. Through these MOUs, Infrastructure Asia will organise capacity building workshops with the relevant partners, and step up engagement with local authorities in regional markets and intensify connections with the regional infrastructure ecosystems.

With the growing importance of risk mitigation and its role in increasing bankability of projects, the Ministry of Law announced the Singapore Infrastructure Dispute Management Protocol 1 to help parties involved in mega infrastructure projects manage disputes and minimise the risks of time and cost overruns.

Infrastructure Asia to address growing demand and gaps

Asia is estimated to face an investment gap of US$460 billion annually for infrastructure 2, and the bankability of projects remains a challenge. To drive and address some of these gaps, Infrastructure Asia will focus on:

  • Connecting partners in the ecosystem and catalysing collaboration
  • Building capacity in markets with infrastructure needs through knowledge sharing or training sessions
  • Providing advice to help improve bankability of projects

Mr Seth Tan Keng Hwee, Executive Director, Infrastructure Asia, said, “Infrastructure Asia will work closely with the private sector, governments, commercial and multilateral development banks to provide solutions that are customised to meet the local market’s specific needs and requirements. We will also offer advice to relevant countries and work with them on capacity building. With better knowledge, skills and resources, we can improve project feasibility and bankability, enabling project leads to become viable commercial projects.”

Infrastructure Asia signed two MOUs to foster partnerships to bring about more infrastructure projects in Asia:

  • An MOU with the World Bank Group to leverage each other’s networks and expertise to drive knowledge building and exchange within Asia. They will also work together to help Asian countries strengthen capacities for infrastructure project structuring, financing, implementation and operation.
  • An MOU with Singapore Business Federation to i) enhance visibility of regional project opportunities for Singapore-based companies through workshops and marketing initiatives; ii) market and match Singapore-based companies equipped with relevant technical, financial and/or professional services solutions to project opportunities.

Said Mr Png Cheong Boon, Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Singapore, “Infrastructure is integral to a country’s growth. Singapore has a robust infrastructure ecosystem and we hope that through Infrastructure Asia, we can work with regional governments, MDBs, private funds and players in the ecosystem to undertake complex and meaningful infrastructure projects in the region. In the next 12 months, we will focus on market engagements, project facilitation and capability building in collaboration with our partners.”

Ms Jacqueline Loh, Deputy Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore, said, “Infrastructure Asia’s focus on improving project feasibility and bankability will encourage more private sector investments into infrastructure in the region. This will complement bank-based financing available today, and help to meet Asia’s significant infrastructure needs. Infrastructure Asia’s work will also synergise with other efforts to crowd in long-term private capital, such as the launch of Asia’s first infrastructure project finance securitisation by Bayfront Infrastructure Capital, a special purpose vehicle sponsored by Clifford Capital, in July this year.”

8th ASIR sees strongest attendance to date

The event, which was attended by over 350 Singaporean and regional leaders in the public and private sectors, including policymakers, investors and infrastructure companies, provided a platform for in-depth discussions on opportunities and challenges of smart and sustainable infrastructure in Asia. Ministers from Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand graced the event, and participated in a panel discussion with Second Minister for Finance, Ms Indranee Rajah, on how ASEAN countries can collectively drive sustainable economic growth through infrastructure development.

Over the last seven runs of ASIR, Enterprise Singapore has brought together more than 1,600 industry practitioners, catalysing infrastructure project discussions worth over S$11 billion, with S$800 million worth of projects secured by Singapore companies in China, South Asia and Southeast Asia spanning power, smart cities, transport and utilities.

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1 The Singapore Infrastructure Dispute-Management Protocol was developed by a Working Group convened by MinLaw, comprising eminent infrastructure and dispute resolution specialists from the private sector, the Singapore International Mediation Centre (SIMC) and the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC). For further details, please refer to MinLaw’s press release “New Singapore Dispute Protocol Launched to Minimise Time and Cost Overruns in Infrastructure Projects”, dated 23 October 2018.

2 Source: Meeting Asia’s Infrastructure Needs, Asian Development Bank, 2017