NEW DELHI, INDIA - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore today signed a Letter of Commitment to launch a public-private partnership (PPP) initiative to catalyze infrastructure development within ASEAN. The initiative will see ADB work with Singapore agencies, led by IE Singapore, to enhance private sector participation and investments in regional PPP projects.

Based out of Singapore, the initiative is proposed to be funded at $9 million over three years. This amount is jointly committed by ADB and Singapore government agencies, led by IE Singapore.

This is one of the first concrete initiatives put in place following the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Government of Singapore and ADB last year to strengthen cooperation for sustainable growth in the region.

It aims to help address the region's pressing infrastructure development needs, building towards the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015. ASEAN's infrastructure needs are estimated at $60 billion per year over the next decade.

The signing ceremony for the Letter of Commitment took place today during the ADB's 46th Annual Meeting in New Delhi, India, witnessed by Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, and ADB President Takehiko Nakao. It was signed by IE Singapore's Deputy Chief Executive Officer Chua Taik Him, and confirmed by Kunio Senga, ADB Director General of the Southeast Asia Department.

"Despite strong growth in the region, Southeast Asia's infrastructure coverage lags behind the Asian average. The needs are well beyond the funding capacities and fiscal resources of governments and multilateral development banks," Mr. Senga said. "It is crucial to involve the private sector in infrastructure financing if ASEAN is to continue building and growing."

"Singapore-based companies have an established track record implementing PPP projects in Singapore and overseas. Singapore also has a strong financial sector with comprehensive capabilities to support infrastructure financing. The initiative strengthens the involvement of private sector investors in infrastructure projects in the region and enables them to share their expertise with host countries." said Mr. Chua.

The initiative will work with governments in the region to structure PPP projects, tapping into ADB's regional operations and outreach to ASEAN member countries. It also aims to explore ASEAN's capital markets to finance or refinance these PPP projects. Areas that the initiative will fund are wide-ranging, covering power generation, water management, transport infrastructure, and more.

Targeted to begin operations in the second half of 2013, the initiative will be run by a core team of specialists. Representatives from ADB and Singapore agencies, led by IE Singapore, will jointly oversee the initiative's operations.

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