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March 1, 2017

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Asia needs to increase spending

DEVELOPING countries in Asia and the Pacific will need to spend up to US$1.7 trillion a year, or US$26 trillion through 2030, to meet their infrastructure needs and to maintain the region’s growth momentum, the Asian Development Bank said in a report yesterday.

That’s more than double the previous estimate, made in 2009.

The Manila-based bank’s report said that despite dramatic growth in infrastructure development that has supported growth, reduced poverty and improved people’s lives, a substantial gap remains.

More than 400 million people still lack electricity, 300 million have no access to safe drinking water and about 1.5 billion lack basic sanitation.

Many economies in the region lack modern ports, railways and roads to better connect them to larger domestic and global markets, the report said.

“The demand for infrastructure across Asia and the Pacific far outstrips current supply,” said ADB President Takehiko Nakao. “Asia needs new and upgraded infrastructure that will set the standard for quality, encourage economic growth, and respond to the pressing global challenge that is climate change.”

The 25 economies comprising 96 percent of the region’s population currently spend US$881 billion annually on infrastructure.

A significant part of the investments needed involve adapting to climate change, such as shifting from carbon-intensive modes of travel like private cars to public transport like subways and railways, elevating road embankments, reinforcing structures and fortifying flood control systems to guard against rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

Including climate change mitigation and adaptation, infrastructure needs in the region will exceed US$26 trillion or US$1.7 trillion per year, the report said.


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