By Emmie V. Abadilla
Meeting Asia Pacific’s transport needs require US$8.4 trillion in financing by 2030, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao said yesterday during the opening of Transport Forum 2018, at the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“The current investment level for transport in Asia and the Pacific is about half of what is required,” he pointed out during the event which drew 500 experts- senior officials in transport and international development, representatives from the government, the private sector, academe, and non-government organizations.
“Opportunities exist to address this shortfall through increased cooperation between the public and private sectors. But in the process, we must move toward more sustainable transport options and mitigate the worst effects of climate change.”
Transport accounts for the largest sector for ADB operations which totaled $68.2 billion as of end 2017. The sector consistently took up more than a quarter of ADB’s annual investments since the institution was founded in 1966.
Under ADB’s new long-term Strategy 2030 approved this July, the institution will pursue differentiated approaches across its seven operational priorities to address specific country needs, depending on the level of development.
Transport operations will promote systems that are safe and accessible for all — especially the poor, women, and the vulnerable.
It will cover low carbon transport modes, from public transport, railways to electric vehicles, to help combat climate change as well as efficient and multimodal urban mass public transport systems.
Better service delivery through asset management and capacity-building in the sector as well as cross border infrastructure to foster regional cooperation and integration will likewise be included.
Recently, ADB approved two loans worth $400 million not just to modernize and rehabilitate Azerbaijan’s Sumgayit-Yalama rail line, a key link in the North-South Railway Corridor, but also to help strengthen the country’s railway sector.
Furthermore, ADB loaned Pakistan $335 million to help develop a Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system in Peshawar. This project will establish a BRT corridor while supporting a rethink of traffic along the entire route, improvement of new access roads, and long-term policy changes.
ADB is exploring expanded opportunities for the private sector in transport, particularly in new and frontier markets and small island developing states where transport infrastructure and technologies can make a huge positive impact.
The institution likewise links more lending with innovative technology, such as satellite imagery, which can be used to map out road projects and pinpoint areas with no access.
ADB technical assistance loans, such as a $100-million loan to the Philippines approved in 2017 for its “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, ensures complex projects are financed and implemented more efficiently, and help recruit and retain the skilled engineers needed to carry out the work.