Experts Discuss Bridging Funding Gap for Asia’s $8.4 Trillion Transport Needs

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (12 September 2018) — Meeting Asia and the Pacific’s transport needs will require $8.4 trillion in financing by 2030, said Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Mr. Takehiko Nakao at the Transport Forum 2018, which opened today at ADB’s headquarters, coorganized by ADB and the ADB Institute.

The theme of Transport Forum 2018 is “Financing the Future of Transport in Asia and the Pacific.” Discussions are focused on practical approaches to the region’s transport challenges and knowledge sharing about the latest technical advances in the transport sector. About 500 experts are attending the event, including senior officials in transport and international development, and representatives from government, the private sector, academe, and nongovernment organizations.

Mr. Nakao participated in the opening plenary panel of the 3-day forum on transport finance, along with Minister of Public Works of Afghanistan Mr. Yama Yari, former ADB Vice-President and now President of the Japan Society of Northern California Mr. Lawrence Greenwood, and Chief Representative of the JICA France Office Ms. Megumi Muto. ABS-CBN news anchor Ms. Cathy Yang moderated the panel, while ADB Vice-President Mr. Bambang Susantono delivered welcoming remarks. Two other plenaries were focusing on innovative technologies and knowledge partners. In breakout sessions participants were discussing such themes as regional connectivity, sustainable urban transport, and railways, while training sessions were also held on various transport issues along with special roundtables with donor and developing country authorities.

“The current investment level for transport in Asia and the Pacific is about half of what is required,” said Mr. Nakao. “Opportunities exist to address this shortfall through increased cooperation between the public and private sectors. But in the process, we must move toward more sustainable transport options and mitigate the worst effects of climate change.”

Transport is the largest sector for ADB operations, comprising consistently more than a quarter of ADB’s annual investments since the institution was founded in 1966 and with operations totaling $68.2 billion up to the end of 2017. Under ADB’s new long-term Strategy 2030, approved by its Board of Directors in July, ADB will pursue differentiated approaches across its seven operational priorities to address specific country needs depending on the level of development.

Transport operations will promote systems that are safe and accessible for all—especially the poor, women, and the vulnerable; low carbon transport modes (public transport, railways, electric vehicles) to help combat climate change; efficient and multimodal urban mass public transport systems; better service delivery through asset management and capacity building in the sector; and cross border infrastructure to foster regional cooperation and integration.

As recent examples, ADB approved two loans totaling $400 million to not only modernize and rehabilitate Azerbaijan’s Sumgayit-Yalama rail line, a key link in the North-South Railway Corridor, but also to help strengthen the country’s railway sector. ADB is also loaning Pakistan $335 million to help develop a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system in Peshawar. This project will establish a BRT corridor while supporting a rethink of traffic along the entire route, improvement of new access roads, and long-term policy changes.

ADB will explore expanded opportunities for the private sector in transport, particularly in new and frontier markets and small island developing states where transport infrastructure and technologies can make a huge positive impact. ADB will also link more lending with innovative technology, such as satellite imagery, which can be used to map out road projects and pinpoint areas with no access. Further, ADB technical assistance loans, such as a $100 million loan to the Philippines approved in 2017 for its “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, can ensure complex projects are financed and implemented more efficiently, and help recruit and retain the skilled engineers needed to carry out the work.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.

This article was first published by the Asian Development Bank (

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