ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Abac puts stress on infrastructure ahead of Bali summit
Publication Date : 29-07-2013
A permanent council representing the private sector in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) is pushing for urgent breakthroughs in infrastructure development to more closely connect the fast-growing and vibrant region.
Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac) executive director Amin Subekti said a new strategic plan for infrastructure development, both physical and non-physical including technology and people-to-people connectivity, was vital to help accelerate integration in the area, home to around 40 per cent of the world’s population.
The idea was one of Abac’s key recommendations at its recent meeting in Kyoto, Japan, and will be proposed to leaders during the Apec Summit on October 7 to 8 in Nusa Dua, Bali.
“Infrastructure development will minimise obstacles hampering trade across Asia-Pacific and make it more integrated, thereby the cooperation will be more competitive compared to similar cooperation in other regions of the world,” Amin recently said in a briefing in Jakarta.
Abac has raised concerns that the private sector should take a major role in a plan to develop adequate infrastructure to create regional connectivity.
It also considers government guarantees in terms of clear legal frameworks and sufficient incentives crucial to luring investors to take part in infrastructure development, which requires sizeable funds and carries high risks.
It will require at least US$8 trillion in infrastructure development until 2030 to better link the region, according to an estimate by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
In response to demand from the private sector, leaders are working on initial drafts of a connectivity framework and multi-year plans for investment in infrastructure development proposed by Indonesia — Apec chairman this year.
Another Abac recommendation raises concerns about the importance of developing the services sector as a significant part of the region’s value chain, which ultimately determines the competitiveness of an economy.
Apart from advancing its recommendations in the Apec Summit, Abac is also scheduled to hold a CEO Summit on October 6 and 7, which will involve 15 leaders from Apec members.
The CEO summit will host 14 sessions, including talks featuring several leaders, such as South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will deliver their insights on innovation and energy security respectively, and prominent thinkers, including Kishore Mahbubani and Nouriel Roubini.
A number of leading business executives, including Deutsche Post CEO Frank Appel, General Electric vice chairman John Rice and Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky, have also confirmed their participation in the meeting.
Wiweko Adi Nugroho, an Abac staffer, said the council also endorsed the progression of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which were the backbone of resilient economic growth in the 21 Asia Pacific economies. This would be voiced during the SME Summit that will take place on October 4.
“What Indonesia will fight for at the summit is the significance of collaboration between SMEs and the big names in industry,” he said, citing SMEs in Taiwan as a role model for other similar business entities in the region.