New partnerships and the launch of a multilateral infrastructure fund were among the highlights on the second day of the Asian Development Bank’s annual meeting in Manila, Philippines.
The ASEAN Infrastructure Fund was formally unveiled May 3 at the sidelines of the annual meeting. It is designed to address Southeast Asia’s infrastructure needs and is expected to invest up to $4 billion through 2020. First proposed in September 2011, the fund is the largest financing initiative led by members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The fund will support up to six projects every year — with a funding cap of $75 million per project. ADB, which will administer the Malaysia-based fund, has also pledged to cofinance all AIF projects.
An ASEAN member country, meanwhile, has set out to strengthen its partnership with ADB. Singapore and the bank signed a memorandum of understanding to boost cooperation in research, project preparation, innovation and capacity development initiatives, among other areas. Through this MOU, the bank will work more closely with select agencies in Singapore, a country that has been positioning itself lately as Asia’s development hub.
Another partnership that emerged from the second day of the ADB meeting is between the bank, Australia and Kiribati. ADB and Kiribati signed a $21.5 million loan and grant agreement for a sanitation sector project in the Pacific island country. ADB will provide a $7.6 million loan and Australia a $14 million grant to support ongoing efforts to improve coverage and quality of sanitation services in South Tarawa — Kiribati’s capital city.
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