ADB President Takehiko Nakao (Source: VNA)

Jakarta (VNA) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will continue to be a trusted partner of Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) countries in their efforts for future growth, ADB President Takehiko Nakao wrote in an article published by Indonesia’s Jakarta Globe newspaper.

In the article, entitled “Securing Future Prosperity of the Greater Mekong Sub-region,” the ADB President underlined that GMS countries have made stunning progress over the past quarter century.

The GMS Economic Cooperation Programme has contributed significantly to this transformation, he wrote, noting that since it was established in 1992 as a means to enhance economic relations and promote regional cooperation, its six member states – Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam – have built a platform for economic cooperation that has mobilised almost 21 billion USD for high-priority infrastructure projects.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the sub-region has surged tenfold and trade between its countries has climbed to over 414 billion USD from 5 billion USD.

The author pointed to challenges to GMS prosperity, including climate change adaptation and mitigation, energy efficiency, food security and sustainable urbanisation, along with new challenges such as growing inequalities, rising levels of cross-border migration, and the potential impact on jobs of the fourth industrial revolution.

However, he stressed that there are also emerging opportunities for the region, including incorporating new technologies in various sectors such as education, agriculture, health, and finance. GMS countries are situated at the crossroads of South and Southeast Asia, and hence they can benefit from the increased momentum for growth in South Asia.

GMS countries have identified a new pipeline of 227 projects worth about 66 billion USD under the GMS Regional Investment Framework 2018-2022, he noted, adding that these projects will expand economic prosperity by developing cross-border transportation and energy infrastructure.

According to Takehiko Nakao, the ADB, which has been the programme's secretariat since its inception, expects to provide 7 billion USD over the next five years for a range of projects supporting transportation, tourism, energy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, agribusiness value chains and urban development. This builds on more than 8 billion USD in financing provided by the ADB so far under the programme.

The GMS will benefit from strengthened partnerships with other regional and global cooperation platforms, leading to new opportunities for future development. Partnerships with the private sector will also be increasingly important, and it is gratifying to see them deepening through the GMS Business Council, the Mekong Business Initiative, the e-Commerce Platform, GMS tourism and agriculture forums, and the recent Finance Sector and Trade Finance Conference, he asserted.
“I am optimistic that the sub-region will meet its challenges and capitalise on emerging opportunities. By working together, GMS countries can deliver rapid, sustainable and inclusive growth for another 25 years and beyond. The ADB will continue to be an important and trusted partner in that endeavor,” concluded Takehiko Nakao.-VNA