The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) officially launched its largest financing initiative, the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund (AIF), on May 3 in the Filipino capital Manila , on the sidelines of the ASEAN Development Bank’s (ADB) 45 th Annual Meeting.

The fund will finance crucial infrastructure projects across the region including roads, railways, power and water supplies and other essential projects, estimated to cost almost 60 million USD per year.

The Managing Director of the ADB Rajat Nag said that setting up the AIF is a defining moment for ASEAN nations to get together to fund infrastructure projects that will help to promote trade, foster economic growth and create jobs for the half a billion people that live in the ASEAN community.

The ADB and ASEAN member countries have already provided an initial equity of 485 million USD for the AIF.

It will finance around six projects a year, worth approximately 75 million USD each. Therefore, the ADB’s total lending commitment by 2020 is estimated to be about 13 billion USD.

The fund also plans to issue bonds to promote the region’s potential in its foreign exchange reserves of 700 billion USD to meet its infrastructure requirements.-VNA