Remarks by Masatsugu Asakawa, President, Asian Development Bank, at the 15th Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Leaders’ Summit, 11 May 2023, Labuan Bajo, Indonesia


Your Majesty, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is my pleasure to participate in today’s BIMP-EAGA Leaders’ Summit. I thank the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and Government of Malaysia or the excellent arrangements.

BIMP-EAGA economies faced great adversity during the COVID-19 crisis. But trade has rebounded and important projects in transport, tourism, and human resource development are back on track. As set forth in the >BIMP-EAGA Vision 2025 Mid-Term Review, the subregion is charting a course for a green and sustainable recovery.

Priorities for BIMP-EAGA’s advancement

As we look ahead, several priority areas are crucial for shaping BIMP-EAGA’s future.

First, expanding BIMP-EAGA economic corridors and bolstering special economic zones can contribute to a vibrant post-pandemic recovery. ADB continues to support a range of projects to strengthen inclusive development along BIMP-EAGA economic corridors. These include the enhancement of transport networks in Mindanao, Philippines, and East and North Kalimantan in Indonesia. ADB has also been supporting cross-border energy projects between Indonesia and Malaysia, and the expansion of sustainable energy access for remote communities in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Recently, ADB completed a study on special economic zones in BIMP-EAGA with recommendations to restore economic growth and foster job creation. I am pleased to announce that ADB has also commenced a new study of BIMP-EAGA’s economic corridors, as requested by ministers at the 23rd BIMP-EAGA Ministerial Meeting.

Second, as climate change poses a severe threat to the subregion, ADB remains dedicated to working with BIMP-EAGA to address its impacts. Last year we supported the City of General Santos, Philippines, in developing a Green City Action Plan that identifies a pipeline of bankable green projects. This year we are doing the same for Pontianak, Indonesia. ADB is also supporting a range of other initiatives, like the Energy Transition Mechanism in Indonesia and the Philippines, to support countries transition to a lower-carbon future. We will also explore opportunities to support the development of the subregion’s blue economy.

Third, after BIMP-EAGA suffered its worst tourism slump in decades, intensified efforts are needed to revitalize this cornerstone of the subregion’s economy. ADB has supported the development of the Joint BIMP-EAGA and IMT-GT Tourism Recovery Communications Plan and Toolkit. We have also established the Southeast Asia Sustainable Tourism Hub to increase support for investments in the sector.


In closing, BIMP-EAGA has taken important steps to build a resilient, inclusive, sustainable, and economically competitive subregion. ADB is honored to have served as your Regional Development Advisor since 2003, and we remain firmly committed to supporting your important work in the years ahead.

Thank you.