The Role of Infrastructure in Integrating Asia's Regions

Area of Scanning: Economic System
Author: Jean-Philippe Veilleux

What is Changing?

Integrating whole regions through the development of the Asian infrastructure system has been in discussion for more than a decade. Recently, due to factors such as the political reform in Myanmar, China’s massive infrastructure investments and the implementation of ASEAN’s “Brunei Action Plan”, talks have moved towards concrete actions. Railways, highways, dry ports and pipelines received the necessary funding – or are in the process of doing so – to connect the lines. Countries and regions previously isolated such as Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Central and Western China will soon benefit from the new linkages.

Implications

There are currently eight missing links that are likely to receive sufficient funding to be developed in the next decade; most of them will connect South-East Asian countries together and with China. The lack of infrastructure investments or political disagreement in other regions, such as South Asia, may lead to infrastructure deficits and isolation. Trade and regional integration will play a major role in the development of low and middle income economies. The level of investment in infrastructure shows patterns of regional integration – and resulting rates of growth – that are likely to emerge in the coming 10-15 years.  The infrastructure system may point us to which countries will grow at a rapid pace, and which countries will be catching-up.

Sources

Pipeline Maps

 ICT Infrastructure Maps