Remarks by Masatsugu Asakawa, President, Asian Development Bank, at the 15th Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Leaders’ Summit, 11 May 2023, Labuan Bajo, Indonesia

I. Introduction

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen: 

I am honored to join you today for this 15th Leaders’ Summit of the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle. I would like to extend my utmost appreciation to the Government of Indonesia for the excellent arrangements and warm hospitality.

Over the past thirty years, IMT-GT cooperation has delivered impressive results. Transport networks now span the subregion. Economies are rebounding from the pandemic. Trade remains resilient. And joint initiatives in tourism, agriculture, and the environment are helping to address collective development challenges. 

ADB is honored to be your Regional Development Advisor, and our enduring partnership continues to advance prosperity in the subregion.  

II. Key actions for pursuing inclusive, green development

The challenges confronting us today are quite different from those of three decades ago. It is crucial that we work together to tackle these threats, three of which are climate change, food and energy insecurity, and potential trade and supply chain disruptions.

First, to address the impacts of climate change, we need robust low-carbon policies in tandem with green and blue recovery projects. As the region’s Climate Bank, ADB is intensifying efforts to deliver $100 billion in cumulative climate financing by 2030. We are also supporting the acceleration of the blue economy through our Blue Southeast Asia Finance Hub in Jakarta. ADB is contributing to the development of smart and green cities, where in Malaysia we are helping city governments develop pipelines of bankable green projects and plans for capital investments.  

Second, IMT-GT and the larger ASEAN community are facing dual food and fuel crises. We must improve our food supply and value chains, and take prompt action to address energy security risks. ADB is supporting food security with a comprehensive $14 billion program through 2025. We are also strengthening food systems with climate-smart agriculture and nature-based solutions. In addition, we are spearheading game-changing initiatives in the energy sector including the Energy Transition Mechanism. 

Third, IMT-GT has a critical role to play in strengthening systems and identifying new growth areas amidst a changing trade landscape. ADB studies on IMT-GT economic corridors and special economic zone development have identified crucial measures that can help achieve pro-poor and people-centered growth. These include easing trade and transport barriers, enhancing trade facilitation, and developing a digitally savvy workforce. 

III. Conclusion

In closing, the IMT-GT Implementation Blueprint 2022–2026 charts a clear course towards a sustainable and inclusive recovery. With the trust, friendship and close collaboration we have built through the years, the future of IMT-GT looks bright indeed. I am confident that together we can achieve integrated, innovative, and inclusive growth in the subregion.

Thank you.