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Paying for progress: Getting the private sector to pull its weight

Pathom Sangwongwanich

Asian Development Bank president Takehiko Nakao addresses a news conference at the ADB annual general meeting in Yokohama. (Photo: Reuters)

The last few decades have brought remarkable improvements across Asia in terms of transport networks, electricity generating capacity, telecommunications and access to clean water, among other essentials. Better quality infrastructure has improved people’s lives and provided the impetus for a new wave of economic growth. But much more remains to be done.

More than 400 million people in the region still do not have access to electricity, 300 million lack safe drinking water, and 1.5 billion need better access to basic sanitation, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“Developing Asia will need to invest US$26.2 trillion between 2016 and 2030, or $1.7 trillion per year, if the region is to maintain its [sustainable] growth momentum, eradicate poverty and respond to climate change,” the ADB said in a recent report. “Without climate change mitigation and adaptation costs, $22.6 trillion will be needed, or $1.5 trillion per year.”

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