Most of the infrastructure required for enhanced connectivity in the Greater Mekong Subregion has been put in place, particularly the transport links that form the base of the envisaged economic corridors, Bindu Lohani, vice president of the Asian Develop
He made the remark at the sixth GMS Economic Corridors Forum (ECF), held in Hanoi.
He added that the crucial question now was how to ensure that these infrastructure links yield their intended benefits in terms of increased trade flows, investment activity, industrial growth, employment, and incomes.
The ECF needs to go back to its original focus of finding ways to boost trade and investment, and hasten the development of industries along the economic corridors, participants heard.
Among the key ways to achieve this are through transport and trade facilitation, and the development of special economic zones such as cross-border zones, export-processing zones, and industrial parks.
The forum also discussed ways to improve coordination and integration in carrying out the proposed measures by sharing experience within and outside the region and promoting involvement of the private sector, among others.
The GMS members – Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and China’s Yunnan province – formed the ECF in 2008 to bolster efforts in transforming transport corridors into economic corridors, connecting dynamic hubs of economic activity. It serves as a single body focusing on economic-corridor development and helps improve interaction between the public and private sectors, and between central and local governments.
The ADB has supported the establishment of the East-West, North-South, and Southern GMS Economic Corridors since 1998 to promote economic growth and integration in the sub-region.