Welcome Remarks by Ingrid Van Wees, Vice-President for Finance and Risk Management, at the Global Infrastructure Finance Forum on 13 October 2018.

President Widodo, honorable ministers, distinguished speakers, ladies and gentlemen. A very warm welcome to the Global Infrastructure Forum.
On behalf of the Asian Development Bank I would like to thank the Government of Indonesia for being the host country for this event. We are particularly honored to have President Widodo with us to deliver the keynote address, who will speak shortly. His participation is testament to his government’s enthusiastic support for the global infrastructure program. We are equally grateful to have the honorable Minister Indrawati deliver today’s closing remarks.

Before I begin, I would also like to express my condolences to all of you in Indonesia on the tragedies in Central Sulawesi and Lombok. Our hearts go out to all who have lost loved ones.

These recent events reinforce how important it is that the infrastructure we create is resilient and can withstand shocks and stresses.

This year, the third Global Infrastructure Forum explores the prospects for Unlocking “Inclusive, Resilient, and Sustainable Technology-Driven Infrastructure”.

Ladies and gentlemen, the impact of new technologies on the development of quality infrastructure cannot be overstated. If managed well, we can secure sustainable economic growth and expand its benefits to the poor and vulnerable. Innovative new technologies, particularly digital, and the expansion and improvement of legacy infrastructure through new techniques and better management and financing arrangements, can broaden the reach of growth like never before.

Indeed, changes now under way offer numerous new ways to approach the long-standing issues in the development of infrastructure, such as the environment and climate change, putting the Sustainable Development Goals within our reach.

Addis Ababa in 2015 set the “Global Infrastructure Forum” in motion as a crucial platform for the multilateral development banks to bridge the infrastructure gap in order to progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals. We at the Asian Development Bank, together with the multilateral development banks, and the United Nations have therefore worked closely to deliver this event.

And I think you will agree that we have an impressive roster of speakers and panelists from government, major development banks, and cutting-edge private sector players.

Your participation alongside these leading figures creates “just the right mix of perspectives” for some fresh insights.

In the first opening session we will a look at Sustainable Infrastructure through Technology. Clearly, the inroads for technology in infrastructure are many and too numerous to mention here. Suffice to say, new technologies promise to improve every aspect of infrastructure—from the hard, such as roads that get people to work or market, to the soft, such as essential government, health, education, financial, and legal systems.
 
In a second opening session, we’ll explore how the multilateral development banks are catalyzing private finance. With the tab for needed infrastructure investment in developing Asia alone estimated at $26 trillion through 2030, clearly private pools of funds must be tapped.

The afternoon will open with a panel discussion on Achieving the Last Mile Through Technology. What is the good of new infrastructure if products and services cannot reach the poor and the vulnerable? Here too, new technologies are promising big advances on last-mile challenges.

The session following will spark an exciting discussion into how to mobilize sustainable infrastructure at a scale sufficient to achieve the goals of agreements such as the SDGs or Addis Ababa. In the session, Good Practices in Scaling Up Investments in Infrastructure, the diverse panel, including representatives from think tanks, the private sector, government, and investors, is designed to create a lively exchange.

In the closing sessions of the day, the first will look at how to finance the colossal global infrastructure gap. We have entered a “new world order” for infrastructure that will not look like the past. Government, infrastructure companies and financiers face dynamic new challenges such as digital solutions upending the finance industry. So what is in store?

And finance comes to the fore again in the final session, Innovative Climate Finance for Sustainable Infrastructure. The prospects for discussion, again, are numerous, not least as the impact of less expensive and substantially more effective solar and wind electricity is finally with us. The panel, including representatives from the finance sector, will present the latest developments in products to finance infrastructure for climate change adaptation.

Ladies and gentlemen, it has become almost a truism to say that technology is evolving rapidly. Yet, it clearly bears repeating. Exciting new opportunities are emerging. These present an incredible pipeline of initiatives for Unlocking Inclusive, Resilient, and Sustainable Technology-Driven Infrastructure. It is our role in the development community to work together to find ways to ensure these changes benefit all, especially the poor and vulnerable, and that the infrastructure they create is sustainable.

Once again, a warm welcome and I wish all of you a good forum.

Speaker

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