Asia Minute: Multi-Trillion Dollar Challenge for Asian Infrastructure

Feb 28, 2017

Asian Development Bank Headquarters
Credit Wikimedia Commons

When you hear about infrastructure in Hawai‘i, you may think of sewers, roads or bridges. You may also think of Honolulu’s multi-billion dollar rail project. When it comes to developing countries in Asia, the price tag is in trillions—and rising. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


Economic growth requires investment in infrastructure.

That’s what the Asian Development Bank says—and the bank says developing countries in the Asia Pacific need to double their spending on infrastructure over the next 13 years.

This is not so much about high-speed bullet trains or futuristic technology, the needs start with the basics. Like sanitation.

The Asian Development Bank says one and a half billion people in the region lack basic sanitation.  More than 400 million don’t have electricity.  And safe drinking water is only a dream for 300 million people in the Asia Pacific.

The ADB did some of the math, and the required figure to address these issues is double the estimate the bank made just eight years ago.

Some of the reason for the increase is because the bank has boosted the number of countries involved to 45 from 32 and has updated costs due to inflation.

Another complicating factor: changing physical conditions around the world.

Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao wrote that “Asia needs new and upgraded infrastructure that will set the standard for quality, encourage economic growth, and respond to the pressing global challenge that is climate change.”