World Bank: BRI to help close infra investment gaps

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is expected to help in closing investment gaps in infrastructure sector in low- and middle-income countries, World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva said here Thursday.

During the Financial Connectivity Meeting of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF), Georgieva said low- and middle-income countries need to spend USD2.7 trillion or 8.2 percent of gross domestic product per year until 2030 to close infrastructure gap.

She mentioned that these countries can maximize the opportunities under the BRI and can source their infrastructure investment requirement through this cooperation.

But the governments of these countries shall implement policies that will attract these investments, Georgieva said.

“The question is: What can we do to open up more opportunities for private sector to invest because without it we will not close this gap,” the World Bank chief said.

“That means our work should focus on stable and transparent regulations; institutional capacity; to secure the right conditions for the private sector, standards in place in the world of climate change, standards for low-carbon climate resilient investment; and reducing risk,” she noted.

Georgieva also urged countries to be “very careful” in using macroprudential tools to secure investors of the stable macroeconomic policies in the domestic markets.

She mentioned that the World Bank Group, along with the International Monetary Fund, is in close cooperation with China in BRI.

For the World Bank Group, Georgieva noted that it already raised financial contributions across developing countries. She said some USD80 billion were already released by the World Bank for infrastructure projects, while another USD10 billion worth of financing are on the way.

China launched the BRI in 2013 as it aims to boost connectivity in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East by establishing investment cooperation in infrastructure.

To date, the BRI has established six major corridors for international economic cooperation, which include the New Eurasian Land Bridge, the China-Mongolia-Russia, China-Central Asia-West Asia, China-Indochina Peninsula, China-Pakistan, and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridors.

China has also invested in countries in the BRI in connectivity infrastructures such as railways, roads, ports, air transport, energy facilities, and communication facilities.

The Philippines signed for the BRI in November 2018. (PNA)