MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Ministers from the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) will review progress on the Regional Investment Framework (RIF) to boost implementation of the GMS Strategic Framework 2012-2022, as they meet today and tomorrow for the 18th GMS Ministerial Conference in Nanning, People's Republic of China (PRC).
The RIF, which was endorsed as part of the new GMS Strategic Framework 2012-2022 at the 4th GMS Summit in December 2011, helps formulate a comprehensive pipeline of investment and non-lending projects based on sector assessments and country needs.
In addition to traditional GMS projects, the RIF proposes multisectoral second generation projects, including urban development along existing transport corridors; better road, rail and sea links; building up national power grids; promotion of regional food handling guidelines; establishing sustainable tourism projects; boosting environmental planning and management; and shoring up human resource capacity. These investments should help GMS countries transform transport corridors into economic corridors.
While the RIF will be finalized in 2013, investment projects worth at least $9 billion have already been identified. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) recently approved $37 million in funding for corridor town development in Cambodia, and $41 million for similar projects in Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). Meanwhile, headway is already being made on institutional issues as well, with progress on the establishment of the Regional Power Coordination Center and the Greater Mekong Railways Association.
Since 1992, the GMS Program has invested about $15 billion in projects covering subregional roads, airports and railways, power facilities, tourism infrastructure, and communicable disease prevention, with ADB's share totaling more than $5 billion. GMS countries include Cambodia, PRC, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.