Regional collective action brings huge benefits: ADB

Asia-Pacific’s developing economies, including the Philippines, can align their national development priorities with the need for regional public goods (RPGs), such as cross-border infrastructure, to promote collective action and enhance benefits, a new report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.

The Asian Economic Integration Report 2018 (AEIR) released on Tuesday said collective action to build RPGs brings more benefits than if a single country were to work on a project that also concerns its neighbors anyway.

It cited as an example, that when a group of countries share better infrastructure connectivity, coordinating more cross-border infrastructure investment can be easily facilitated.

“As such, the region can benefit from having a mechanism in place to share information on national development priorities and the benefits of RPGs among regional stakeholders,” the ADB report said.

RPGs are goods, services, and systems of policies or rules that have shared benefits across countries, such as cross-border infrastructure, communicable disease control, and disaster risk management.

It underscored the importance of regional cooperation to tackle a rising number of cross-border challenges in Asia and the Pacific, including infrastructure gaps, trade connectivity, financial contagion, and climate and disaster-resilience.

The report identified infrastructure and connectivity as the most forceful and stable foundation for regional integration in Asia and the Pacific.

“But, over time, trade and investment have strengthened as a major contributor to regional integration,” it said.
“Empirical findings suggest that regional integration has had significant positive impact on economic growth and poverty reduction.”

ADB chief economist Yasuyuki Sawada said multilateral development banks can help increase RPGs by reducing knowledge and financing gaps, as well as promoting regular policy dialogue for long-term cooperation among countries. (PNA)