DAVAO CITY, PHILIPPINES - Representatives of the Government of the Philippines and ADB met today to enhance their coordination on the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
"This important sub-regional grouping has great potential for economic growth that will improve the lives of millions of people living in these areas," said Rajat M. Nag, Director General of the ADB's Southeast Asia Department. "ADB and the Government of the Philippines share a common vision of a brighter future of BIMP-EAGA."
At today's meeting, Philippine Cabinet Secretary Jesus G. Dureza, the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Philippine Signing Minister for BIMP-EAGA, discussed with participants the area's potential in tourism, transportation, small business development and natural resource issues.
BIMP-EAGA was formally launched in 1994 as a key strategy of the participating governments to address the social and economic development of their less developed and more remote territories. The immediate goal is to encourage increased trade, investments and tourism in the area.
In the late 1990s, the efforts to bring these areas together were set back by the Asian financial crisis, the El Nino weather phenomenon, and peace and order issues in some areas. As the regional economy improved, BIMP-EAGA has gained new momentum. A new initiative seeks to not only increase trade within the countries involved, but also to promote regional and international trade.
"EAGA has shifted its development approach to one of enhancing its competitive advantage in the world market as a sub-region," said Mr. Nag, ADB's Special Advisor to the President on Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration.
BIMP-EAGA consists of the following areas:
- Brunei Darussalam
- All the Kalimantan and Sulawesi provinces, Maluku, and Papua in Indonesia
- Sabah and Sarawak states and the Federal Territory of Labuan in Malaysia
- Mindanao and Palawan in the Philippines