Connecting Asia

Connecting Asia

Infrastructure for Integrating South and Southeast Asia

ADBI series on Asian Economic Integration and Cooperation

Edited by Michael G. Plummer, Peter J. Morgan and Ganeshan Wignaraja

This book analyses how closer regional connectivity and economic integration between South Asia and Southeast Asia can benefit both regions, with a focus on the role played by infrastructure and public policies in facilitating this process. Country studies of national connectivity issues and policies cover Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, examining major developments in South Asia–Southeast Asia trade and investment, economic cooperation, the role of economic corridors, and regional cooperation initiatives. Thematic chapters explore investment in land and sea transport infrastructure, trade facilitation, infrastructure investment financing, supporting national and regional policies, and model-based estimates of the benefits of integration. Employing a state-of-the-art computable general equilibrium (CGE) model, the book provides a detailed an up-to-date discussion of issues, innovations and progress.

Chapter 1: Introduction and overview

Michael G. Plummer, Peter J. Morgan and Ganeshan Wignaraja

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, asian economics, development studies, asian development, development economics, economics and finance, asian economics, development economics, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics


This chapter summarizes the overall purpose, background, major findings and policy recommendations in this book. The goal of this book is to identify the main constraints to South Asian–Southeast Asian economic integration, to provide specific policies that governments – together with the private sector and other development partners – should follow to overcome them, and to estimate the potential benefits and costs of those policies. It surveys the key issues, delineates existing bottlenecks and what can be done to resolve them, and considers the stakes involved, that is, the benefits and costs of deepening inter-regional links. It offers policy recommendations for governments, presents promising new approaches for regional institutions, identifies priority projects, and uses a computable general equilibrium model to estimate overall benefits and impacts of various scenarios of greater cross-regional integration. The chapter provides the historical background of integration between the two regions, and describes the current state of trade and investment integration. It then summarizes the findings of the chapters and, finally, synthesizes some of the main findings of the study and summarizes key policy recommendations.