Welcome Address by Seth Tan, Executive Director, Infrastructure Asia at the Asia Infrastructure Forum 2021 on 23 June 2021
Guest-of-Honour Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and National Development, Singapore
The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Canada
Your Excellency Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Republic of India,
The Honorable Mark Villar, Secretary of Public Works and Highways, Republic of the Philippines
Your Excellency Dr Awang Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy, Negara Brunei Darussalam,
Your Excellency Hem Vanndy, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Kingdom of Cambodia,
Mayors, Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good morning and a warm welcome to the Asia Infrastructure Forum 2021. The theme of today’s event is “Enabling Sustainable Infrastructure for Asia’s Recovery”. Through today’s event, we hope to bring together collaborators to accelerate the region’s sustainability efforts and thereby contribute towards the economic recovery of the region. Infrastructure Asia will continue to contribute to the region’s infrastructure development efforts
2. COVID-19 and the ensuing travel restrictions have presented challenges to the development of international projects. Infrastructure Asia, or InfraAsia as we call ourselves, like many of you had to grapple with how to connect with regional counterparts and progress discussions on regional infrastructure opportunities. We conversed virtually, and pivoted to an online format for our activities. The Growing Infrastructure Course, in collaboration with the World Bank Group and the Singapore Management University, is one such example. Targeted at senior and mid-level regional government officials, the sector-specific course has continued virtually over the past two runs, with regional government officials from 12 countries in attendance.
3. To ensure the success of infrastructure projects, symbiotic partnership is key. InfraAsia has benefited from close partnerships and collaborations with many of you here today and dialing in. This has enabled us to made significant headway in the past three years.
- First, we have connected with close to six hundred companies across the infrastructure value chain to understand their key offerings. These companies range from developers, engineers, professional service providers, financiers to investors. We call this the “supply-side”;
- Second, we have established relationships with over 50 government ministries and agencies across Southeast Asia and South Asia to better understand their infrastructure development goals and needs. This is the “demand-side”;
- Third, many third country collaborators – from Canada, Denmark, Germany, China, Japan, Korea and the United States – have reached out to facilitate companies from their hinterland to collaborate and complement the Singapore ecosystem in the regional projects;
- Fourth, based on our understanding of the requirements of the demand side and the value proposition of the supply-side, we have been able to bring the relevant parties together to co-create more bankable projects in the region.
4. To-date, InfraAsia with our partners, has built a pipeline of close to 50 projects, out of which seven opportunities have been catalyzed, including 3 in the last year. We hope to catalyze more sustainable infrastructure opportunities as countries look towards infrastructure as an economic growth driver.
5. One project where we have seen close collaboration between different Asian players is the Phnom Penh City waste collection and transportation project. InfraAsia, together with Enterprise Singapore, National Environment Agency and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shared the Singapore waste management story with relevant Cambodian ministries and agencies and helped Singapore-based companies find the right partners to bid for the opportunity. At the end of 2020, 800 Super, a Singapore company, with its joint venture partner in Cambodia, was awarded a 10-year contract for one of three zones. Asia Infrastructure Forum as a platform to connect demand and supply
6. The pathway to a sustainable future requires the right partnerships to overcome the gaps and challenges. This is precisely why InfraAsia has pressed ahead to organise the Asia Infrastructure Forum even in these challenging times. We hope that it will provide a platform for more connections and partnerships to be formed.
7. To that end, I am heartened that two thousand delegates from across the globe have registered to join us at today’s event. As it is more difficult to travel and meet in current times, we hope the virtual meeting hub at AIF will allow pre-arranged meetings to be set up and facilitate new partnerships. I would like to encourage everyone to make full use of the virtual networking platform.
8. Finally, I would like to express my gratitude towards our distinguished guests, speakers, partners and sponsors, for your strong support in making this event possible.
9. InfraAsia hopes that this platform will catalyse fruitful discussions, new connections and more collaborations. Thank you.