Aerial photo taken on March 22, 2018 shows the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Convention Center in Boao Town, Qionghai city of South China's Hainan province. (GUO CHENG / XINHUA)
BOAO, Hainan — Ballooning population, urbanization and industrial development in Asia have called for immense infrastructure investments in the region, according to a report released by the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Tuesday.
Asia's infrastructure investment gap constantly constitutes 30 percent of the gap in the world and will grow linearly to US$252 billion in 2040, the Asian Financial Development Report on Infrastructure Finance read, citing data from the Global Infrastructure Outlook, a G20 initiative.
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The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, has made remarkable achievement in improving connectivity after its five-year implementation, the report read.
Still, there remain many shared challenges faced by Asian economies on infrastructure finance, including rising public debt burden, lack of policy support for private sector participation and difficulty for local markets to attract long-term investors, the report read.
The report urged better policy coordination as well as further development of local financial markets to improve infrastructure development in Asia.
It also called for the establishment of smart, green and sustainable infrastructure for the new era.
Southeast Asia an attractive destination for FDI
84 percent of China's outward direct investment is directed at Asia as compared to 79% in 2016
BFA Progress of Asian Economic Integration Annual Report
Southeast Asia became an attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI), according to BFA Progress of Asian Economic Integration Annual Report 2019.
The inflow of FDI increased by 16.8 percent in 2017, the report read.
Indonesia and Thailand attracted the most foreign direct investment in 2017. FDI inflows into Indonesia increased, unprecedentedly, by 488.2 percent and that into Thailand by 269.2 percent in 2017, read the report.
The report read ASEAN has benefited from deeper integration in Asia as intraregional flows become a very important source of FDI.
"For example, 84 percent of China's outward direct investment is directed at Asia as compared to 79 percent in 2016," read the report.
The report is a scorecard on the progress of integration in Asia and a description of major economic issues in the Asian region in the past, especially of events that occurred the previous year.
Major emerging economies to maintain similar economic growth levels as 2018
According to the report, titled "Development of Emerging Economies Annual Report 2019," major emerging economies will maintain a similar level of economic growth in 2019 as last year.
The report was released at a press conference of the BFA annual conference.
The major emerging economies, defined by the forum as "E11," refer to the economies of Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey.
Slightly pressured by the economic slowdown, the economies saw average GDP growth of about 5.2 percent in 2018, slightly lower than their growth rate in 2017. Despite their easing growth, their growth rate was higher than that of the world economy as a whole, the report read .
Drastic fluctuations of economic growth in the E11 economies will be less likely to occur in 2019, but the economies would still be faced with downward pressure. In consideration of reinforced policy means by various countries to address economic recession risks, economic growth of the E11 in 2019 may basically be at a similar level compared with 2018, the report read.
The report also analyzed the economies' new developments in employment and income, price and monetary policy, international trade, international direct investment, international commodities and debt and financial markets.
Development gap among Asian economies narrowing
The competitiveness gaps between Asian economies were narrower in 2018 than in previous years, according to BFA Asian Competitiveness Annual Report 2019.
The 37 Asian economies evaluated in the report all scored higher in 2018 in terms of their comprehensive competitiveness, with shrinking gaps between the scores, the report read.
The report provides rankings of the Asian economies in terms of their commercial and administrative efficiency, infrastructure level, overall economic vitality and social development as well as human capital and innovation capability.
"Asian economies have started to enjoy the bonus of the progressing regional economic integration against the complexity of the domestic and international situation," the report read.
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With increased awareness of building an Asian community of shared future and further regional integration, Asia will be able to achieve self-reliant stable growth, it read.
"Its huge consumption market and infrastructure market will enable Asia to take the lead in recovering from the economic downturn and drastically improving security," it read.
The BFA annual conference runs from March 26 to 29 in Boao, a coastal town in China's southern island province of Hainan.
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