HA NOI, VIET NAM (31 March 2018) — Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao today congratulated the six member countries at the Summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) on 25 years of successful regional cooperation. He reaffirmed ADB’s continued support to the program, with $7 billion expected over the next 5 years to help the subregion achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development.
The meeting was attended by the Prime Minister of Viet Nam Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Cambodia Samdech Techo Hun Sen, the People's Republic of China’s State Councilor Wang Yi, Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic Thongloun Sisoulith, Vice President of Myanmar U Henry Van Thio, and Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha.
In speeches to the GMS Summit and the GMS Business Summit, Mr. Nakao said: “I would like to commend all GMS countries on the achievement of economic cooperation over the last 25 years.” The GMS Program was initiated in October 1992 with ADB’s support as the Secretariat to assist the transition process and to strengthen regional cooperation by encouraging cross-border economic and trade relations.
“Today, GMS countries are among the fastest growing economies in Asia and the world,” said Mr. Nakao. “They recognize the benefits of being regionally integrated and globally connected. ADB will continue to facilitate the GMS Program, which has been built on mutual trust and the 3 Cs of connectivity, competitiveness, and community.”
The GMS Program has supported projects worth $21 billion since its establishment in 1992 in sectors such as transport, tourism, health, urban development, environment, human resources development, agriculture, and energy. About 40% of the financing for the projects have come from ADB, 25% from GMS governments, and the rest from bilateral and multilateral development partners. Each GMS country program is designed to suit its unique country context.
Based on the Ha Noi Action Plan and Regional Investment Framework, which were adopted today at the GMS Summit, the program is expected to support 227 projects worth $66 billion from 2018 to 2022, of which ADB will finance $7 billion. The Plan calls for an expansion of economic corridors to boost connectivity between countries, as well as between rural and urban centers, to ensure a more equitable distribution of the benefits of economic growth.
At the GMS Business Summit yesterday, GMS country leaders and participants shared their views on key business opportunities affecting the GMS. They discussed new drivers of economic growth, which would rely less on low-cost labor and more on technologies and innovations. Participants called for more financing for GMS countries from the private sector and development partners.
Mr. Nakao will also attend the 10th Cambodia–Lao PDR–Viet Nam (CLV) Summit and appreciated the collaboration and complementarity between the CLV and GMS Program.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region.