5th IMT-GT Leaders' Summit - Haruhiko Kuroda

Speech | 28 October 2010

Statement by ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda at the Fifth Indonesia Malaysia Thailand-Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Leaders' Summit on October 28, 2010 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Thank you for inviting me to join you at the Fifth Indonesia Malaysia Thailand-Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) Leaders' Summit here in the beautiful and vibrant city of Ha Noi.

Before proceeding, and on behalf of the Asian Development Bank, I would like to extend my deepest sympathy and condolences to the Republic of Indonesia and the families of the victims of the recent tsunami and volcanic eruption.

Today, I would like to report on ADB's assistance since we met at the February 2009 Summit in Hua Hin, Thailand. It is a privilege for ADB to be engaged in supporting the realization of the IMT-GT. This important initiative in subregional cooperation is a key building block for achieving an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015.

I would like to congratulate the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand for the considerable progress that has been achieved since the last Summit -- even in the midst of the global economic crisis. I would also like to extend our appreciation for the continued trust and cooperation that you have extended to ADB as your development partner.

ADB is committed to supporting your efforts. At last year's Summit, Your Excellencies mandated ADB to identify, prioritize and mobilize resources for the effective implementation of IMT-GT's five designated connectivity corridors. This directive was important because these projects are the main vehicles for translating goals and strategies into real action. In response, ADB held a series of consultations with line ministries, state and provincial governments, and representatives of the private sector. As a result, 10 priority connectivity projects with a total estimated cost of $5.2 billion have now been identified. I am pleased to report that ADB is working closely with the concerned agencies and other stakeholders to further prepare these projects, so that we can begin to implement some of them in the next year or two. Indeed, the list of priority connectivity projects need not be long, but it should be definitive, and our ability to implement a few high-impact projects will clearly demonstrate the merits of subregional cooperation. In this regard, I am also pleased to report that ADB has just approved an initial technical assistance of US $1 million. This will be used to help countries prepare projects that have potential for public-private partnership funding, and to consider the design of a permanent Subregional Project Development Facility, which would be funded by member country contributions.

To further enhance connectivity, a three-year rolling pipeline of priority projects will need to be developed. Complementary measures in the areas of transport and trade facilitation, logistics, and automated customs clearances are also needed to stimulate trade within and across participating states and provinces.

Along with projects in the Greater Mekong Subregion and the Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area, the IMT-GT priority connectivity projects are critical building blocks for achieving the goal of an ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. Indeed, one of these projects is included in the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, which was endorsed by all the ASEAN Leaders earlier today.

As Your Excellencies are well aware, good progress has been made by ASEAN itself in recent months toward the establishment of the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund, or AIF, with the assistance of the ADB. The proposed AIF would help finance the region's large infrastructure deficit, including priority IMT-GT projects. Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have each exhibited strong leadership in generating momentum for this initiative. Establishment of the AIF and actual commencement of financing operations as early as possible in 2011, coming on the heels of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, would clearly signal ASEAN's strong commitment to achieve the AEC by 2015. It would also help start generating tangible benefits for member countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

This year, the ADB was also entrusted with conducting the Mid Term Review of the Roadmap for IMT-GT, which was completed through a highly participatory consultation process with stakeholders. We agree that the strategic thrusts of the Roadmap continue to be relevant and should continue to guide the future path of IMT-GT. The key challenge is to ensure that these strategies are translated into a critical mass of interrelated and feasible set of projects, anchored on a few focused flagships, to achieve concrete development impact. We also agree therefore that a successor Roadmap may not be needed when the current one expires at end-2011. Instead, we share the view that the Action Plan Matrix should be transformed into an implementation blueprint for 2012-2016. ADB would be happy to support the preparation of this blueprint.

Excellencies, the challenges ahead of us remain complex. But I am confident that the spirit of cooperation that has carried us through in the past will continue to inspire us to move ahead. The IMT-GT has achieved important steps in renewing its momentum and vitality since the Fourth Summit. ADB has worked in close partnership with your senior officials, technical ministries, state and provincial governments, private sector representatives and other stakeholders toward achieving the shared goals of IMT-GT. Let me assure you of ADB's continuing commitment to supporting your efforts. We are confident in the future of IMT-GT cooperation, and look forward to working with you to fulfill the shared vision of a seamless, prosperous and peaceful subregion.

Thank you for your attention.