Mekong Officials Set to Fast-Track Infrastructure Development

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (12 December 2018) — Senior officials of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) will convene this week at the 10th GMS Economic Corridors Forum (ECF-10) in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar to discuss ways to fast-track infrastructure development and boost growth along key economic corridors connecting the subregion. 

“Economic corridors are the backbone of the Greater Mekong Subregion,” said Asian Development Bank (ADB) Director of Regional Cooperation in Southeast Asia Mr. Alfredo Perdiguero. “They provide communities with better access to social services, provide new employment opportunities, and expand economic growth.”

This week’s forum takes place 20 years after GMS officials first adopted a holistic strategy to improve intraregional infrastructure and connect centers of economic activity. Since then, GMS countries have focused not only on building high-quality roads, ports, and other modern infrastructure, but also on enhancing “software” connectivity through logistics development, trade and transport facilitation, and better integration of small and medium-sized enterprises into regional value chains.

The first GMS ECF took place to ensure that communities benefit from economic corridors, strengthen member countries’ ability to deal with cross-border issues such as migration and disease control, and enhance environmentally sustainable development.

The ECF-10 follows the 6th GMS Summit in March, which adopted the Hanoi Action Plan 2018–2022 that focused on initiatives to accelerate the development of the economic corridors in the subregion through stronger connectivity, competitiveness, and community in the GMS.

The ADB-supported GMS Program is developing the East–West, North–South, and Southern Economic Corridors. These corridors have provided jobs, increased access to goods and services for millions of people, as well as contributed to rapid growth in intra-GMS trade and investments.

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.