In the last five years, there has been a large disparity between the growth rates of infrastructure spending in the six largest economies of ASEAN, which has ranged from 4 per cent to 13 per cent. Currently, there exists a large disparity between the expected infrastructure spending growth and actual spending. Also, the current rate of infrastructure spending as a percentage of GDP in ASEAN counties is relatively low when compared to other developing countries (such as China and India) and developed countries (such as Canada and Australia). As a result, unless effective measures are taken to increase infrastructure spending, the expected demand for infrastructure will not be met, and economic growth will slow down or stagnate.
Our focus story “Build, Build, Build” throws light on how the Philippines is at a crucial juncture at present. After the archipelago held its general elections in May 2019, the change in the government has not affected the momentum with regard to infrastructure development. The extant programme of Build Build Build is far from losing steam, as the focus to increase economic growth rests crucially on large-scale infrastructure works.
Land-constrained SEA countries are actively looking at waterbodies for sustainable power generation. Our story “Floatovoltaics” captures the recent phenomenon of the emergence of floating solar power plants, which has found a considerable market in the Southeast Asian region.
Vietnam’s natural gas sector has grown significantly over the past few decades since the discovery of the first associated gas in the Bach Ho oilfield in the early 1990s. The story “Continuous Discoveries” looks at the key trends, developments and outlook for the LNG market in Vietnam. The Asian aviation market has dominated growth in the global aviation sector for the last decade. The story “Facing the Crunch” highlights the impending capacity crunch at ASEAN airports and gives an account of airport expansion plans across the region. Technology has simplified the way people pay for transit. Several transit authorities are deploying open payments to pay for transit. The story on “Open-payment Systems in Transit” talks about the innovative and new-age ticketing systems deployed across the region and in other parts of the world. Countries in the Southeast Asia region are turning to connected solutions enabled by the IoT to make business processes as well as cities smarter, safer, and more efficient. In the story, “Internet of Things”, Southeast Asia Infrastructure analyses the IoT adoption trends across Southeast Asian markets.
Infrastructure financing in the region is primarily done through budgetary support and multilateral aid. Private participation is not up to the mark, especially among the developing countries. While countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia have been active in the PPP space, their spending on PPP as a part of GDP has been low. Our story “Suboptimal Interest”, throws light on how private investments in the region remain concentrated in select sectors and countries.