ADB poised to meet new development challenges: Swee Keat

Singapore's Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.
Singapore's Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

YOKOHAMA • Asian countries have made good progress in development over the last 50 years, but new needs and challenges have surfaced.

These call for new solutions and new ways of delivering them, which the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is poised to do, noted Singapore's Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat last Saturday.

Mr Heng was speaking at the ADB's annual meeting in Yokohama, Japan. The event coincides with the ADB's 50th anniversary.

He noted in his statement that the ADB recently issued a draft strategy paper, "Strategy 2030", which outlines how the ADB aims to fulfil its mission in a changed environment, including by catalysing private-sector funding and providing sustainable urban solutions.

After all, Mr Heng noted, the ADB has estimated that the infrastructure financing needs for the region will grow to US$26 trillion (S$36.5 trillion) by 2030.

Singapore looks forward to continued collaboration with the ADB in this area, Mr Heng added.

"We especially welcome efforts by the ADB to improve engagements with the private sector to step up financing and investment operations - this is an opportunity for governments to enlist the private sector to design and implement innovative infrastructure solutions," he said.

At the same time, Asia's rapid urbanisation is driving up the need for sustainable urban solutions and financing, Mr Heng noted.

"Strategy 2030's proposal to add value through facilitating the transfer of technology and knowledge in sustainable urban solutions is therefore timely," he said.

"We heartily support the efforts by the ADB to partner entities and institutions to transfer their experience and knowledge on successful urban solutions to developing member countries, and believe, indeed, that member countries stand to gain much by working together and learning from one another in this area."

Singapore stands ready to contribute as a knowledge partner to share its experience in long-term planning and urban governance, in areas such as water, greening and solid-waste management, Mr Heng added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 08, 2017, with the headline 'ADB poised to meet new development challenges: Swee Keat'. Print Edition | Subscribe