ADBI series on Asian Economic Integration and Cooperation
Edited by Biswa Nath Bhattacharyay, Masahiro Kawai and Rajat M. Nag
Over the last decade, Asian countries have emerged as the growth center of the global economy. The fallout from the global financial crisis that began in 2008 and the subsequent Asian-led recovery have highlighted the importance of Asia’s economic growth and development in the increasingly connected global economic system. One of the major factors behind Asia’s rise has been its commitment to investment in infrastructure and regional connectivity, which has facilitated its international trade and foreign direct investment. In order to maintain this positive trend in the coming decades, countries in Asia need to continue to strengthen regional connectivity and integration, particularly through cross-border infrastructure investment. Greater regional connectivity in Asia would create business opportunities for firms and increase access to markets and jobs for individuals. It would narrow the development gap at national and subregional levels, thus promoting inclusive and sustainable growth. Better infrastructure would also support market conditions that are conducive to growth by improving competitiveness, productivity, and environmental sustainability, and would therefore support social and economic progress. As a result, a more peaceful, prosperous, integrated and inclusive society can be achieved. Asia’s competitiveness in the global marketplace will depend heavily on its ability to address the serious infrastructure bottlenecks and constraints that exist in many economies. The wide geographical, social and economic diversity of the region poses many challenges to regional infrastructure connectivity. These include deficiencies in hard infrastructure (such as transport, energy, and information and communication technology infrastructure) as well as soft infrastructure (such as policies,...