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Race to finance Asia’s infrastructure heats up

Asia will need $1700bn per year in investments in power, transport, telecommunications and water through 2030, according to ADB latest estimation.

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“Asia will need $1700bn per year in investments in power, transport, telecommunications and water through 2030.

This is more than double our previous estimate,” Asian Development Bank (ADB) president Takehiko Nakao told the 50th Annual Meeting of ADB’s board of governors last week.

And yet, as Mr Nakao reported, while ADB’s total operations last year achieved record levels, they only reached $31.7bn: a drop in the ocean relative to the region’s financing needs.

Stepping into this financing gap over the past year or so has been China’s motivation to create the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

This new bank’s lending may be only slowly getting off the ground, but it already has more members than the ADB, and its authorised lending limit is also higher than the ADB’s. The new competition from the AIIB has seen the ADB streamline its lending procedures and rush to approve new lending.

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Tourism

Can border reopening revive tourism in South-East Asia?

In Thailand, where pre-pandemic tourism accounted for 11-12% of GDP, the country lost an estimated $50bn last year as Covid-19 restrictions led to an 82% fall in arrival numbers.

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After 18 months of travel restrictions, a number of countries in South-east Asia have begun opening their borders to foreign visitors to stoke recovery in their respective tourism industries.

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Travel

Thailand dropped from UK’s tough covid-19 travel ‘red list’

Earlier, Thailand was listed among countries with high infection levels that were put on a ‘red list’, requiring arrivals to spend 10 days in a government-provided quarantine hotel, and must periodically have a PCR test or other tests.

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From Monday, 11 October onward, fully vaccinated travelers from Thailand will not be subjected to Covid-19 quarantine, according to the latest announcement of the UK government.

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