Myanmar is slated to join the shareholders of the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund (AIF), bringing all 10 ASEAN members into the AIF. With Myanmar expected to join within 2014, the existing AIF shareholders include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Bambang Brodjonegoro, Vice-Minister of Finance of Indonesia and Chair of the AIF, said:
"Welcoming Myanmar as a shareholder this year will mark an important chapter in the AIF's development. This will open up new opportunities and make the AIF truly an ASEAN endeavor."
Khin Khin Lwin, ADB Alternate Executive Director from Myanmar, said:
"Infrastructure development is crucial for the continued growth and advancement of Myanmar and other ASEAN nations. Myanmar is honored to join the AIF, which will contribute to our shared vision of a more interconnected ASEAN Economic Community."
The AIF has so far financed two infrastructure projects in the amount of $65 million, consisting of a $25 million financing for the Java-Bali 500kV power transmission project signed in December 2013, and a $40 million loan to a sanitation project signed in May 2014, both in Indonesia.
Last year was an important milestone for AIF lending operations with the first transaction approved. The focus of 2014 is on strengthening its operations. Continued support from all members will make the AIF become one of the important sources to finance infrastructure development in the region. ASEAN's required infrastructure financing is estimated to amount to $60 billion a year in the 10 years leading to 2020. This is in addition to national projects with significant cross-border impacts such as airports, seaports, and roads to borders.
James Nugent, Director General of the Southeast Asia Department at ADB, which acts as the administrator for the AIF., said:
"With the world's lending landscape changing due to the global economic slowdown, the AIF offers a regionally-focused source of funds that's truly homegrown."
The AIF Board approved the pipeline of projects for 2014, and discussed the indicative pipeline for 2015 - 2016, covering priority sectors of water, transport and energy in ASEAN countries. All projects are at an advanced stage of preparation. Details of individual projects will be announced as loan negotiations draw to a close.
ADB is supporting the AIF in a number of areas, including project processing, country consultations to develop project pipelines, and establishing various frameworks for AIF operations.
In addition to its equity investment of $150 million, ADB is the AIF administrator, cofinances investment projects and provides technical support.