January 19, 2021

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ASEAN business and policy leaders, urge to boost infrastructure development

MANILA: November 13, 2017 – The first forum of the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017, entitled “ASEAN Build, Build, Build (Infrastructure Development): Building for the Future” focused on the creation of a more connected region by strengthening infrastructure capacities of each country and mechanisms that embody inclusive growth.

The panelists were Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, CEO of Ayala Corporation (Philippines), Dr. Shinya Ejima, Senior Vice-President of Japan International Cooperation Agency (Japan), Diwakar Gupta, Vice-President of the Asian Development Bank (India), Enrique Razon, Chairman and CEO of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (Philippines), Tony Fernandes, Group CEO, AirAsia (Malaysia), and moderated by Maria Ressa, Founder and CEO of Rappler (Philippines).

The forum is anchored on the ASEAN Master Plan that envisions an integrated ASEAN, through an enhanced physical infrastructure development or physical connectivity, by effective institutional arrangements or institutional connectivity and via empowered people or people-to-people connectivity.

To be able to respond to the demands in the market, policy and business leaders call for the need to increase capacities of governments through strong infrastructure development policies across the region.

“Some governments have been more proactive. Those that are accessible and willing to listen have made the most progress. What makes [ASEAN] great is that there is competition. When one country goes ahead, the other wants to improve as well.” Tony Fernandes, Airasia Group CEO said. Fernandes encouraged that more private investment should be funneled into infrastructure and emphasized the importance of the public sector in the drive towards success.

In discussing how ASEAN countries can move forward, Dr. Ejima pointed out that since all the ASEAN countries have been democratized and share a common value, the fair and transparent decision making system can be easily achieved by all.

“You need to increase your capacity if you want to grow. The trickle down sustainability is about having the ability to accommodate all the economic activities.” Enrique Razon, Chairman and CEO of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (Philippines) stressed.

As the roadmap towards prosperity is not without challenges, Zobel de Ayala underscored that, “The financing needs are tremendous. In the end, we need to get a serious private sector and have a global set of standards to live by. While our country is still low in the FDI list, the potential is definitely there. One the basic moves is to regularize the rules. It needs cooperation from all of us.”

In the application of an effective development framework, Gupta said that, “Level playing fields should be created. If not, there are going to be issues. There should be proper control. It’s about a level playing field, ownership is not important. Governments should be there to provide the superstructure.”

“At the end of the day, PPP, goes back to having transparency and a commitment to both sides.” Thomas Hardy, Acting Director of U.S. Trade and Development Agency said.

ABIS 2017 is  the biggest and most prestigious business event in ASEAN presented by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council bringing attention to the business, investment opportunities, global issues, and key strategic directions that impact on business opportunities for ASEAN member nations today.