On a scale of one to 10 (10 being the bottom), the Philippines ranked No.8 in the Asean states quality-infrastructure league – beating just Vietnam and Myanmar. The rankings were made public at the 3rd Asean Connectivity Forum (ACF) held in Seoul, South Korea, last October.
Singapore topped the list, followed by Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia and Cambodia.
The results, according to the Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia (ERIA) were based on the World Economic Forum Report, 2013-2014. In the area of regulatory framework for public-private partnerships in the region, the study “fortunately lumped” Manila with Jakarta and Bangkok, where there is “certainty and specific law(s)”. Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Brunei, on the other hand, were found to have “uncertainty” and “unspecific” laws when government infrastructure projects are bid out.
Certainly, the Philippines infrastructure needs are considerable as are the efforts it will need to make to attract funds to help it solve them. Global consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, has projected that by 2030 the 10 Asean member states, between them, will need US$3.3 trillion in investments for transport, water, energy and ICT. According to ACF, the investment required for Asean infrastructure projects is the second largest in the world after the Middle East.
The ACF, a South Korean initiative, was adopted at the 17th Asean Summit in 2010. Its aim is to introduce infrastructure projects and policy directions across the region in the fields of transport, energy and information and communications technology. The forum said that with the formation of the Asean Economic Community – 6.4 billion people with a combined GDP of US$2.4 trillion – numerous large-scale infrastructure projects will come in its wake and provide “enormous opportunities”.
The forum comprises two sessions: Master Plan for Asean Connectivity, and Financial Solutions for Asean Connectivity. Taking part in each are the Asean secretariat, Asian Development Bank, ERIA and Korea Exim Bank.