ADB Sri Lanka Resident Mission Country Director Sri Widowati and other officials at the launch
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched the new South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Operational Plan 2016-2025, marking the programme’s first comprehensive long-term plan to promote greater economic cooperation among member countries.
“Sri Lanka will be well served to closely synchronize its efforts to promote export-oriented manufacturing and foreign direct investment with the SASEC programme’s thrust to develop economic corridors in neighbouring countries,” said ADB Sri Lanka Resident Mission Country Director Sri Widowati.
The SASEC Operation Plan identifies over 200 potential transport, trade facilitation and energy projects, which will require more than US $ 120 billion in investments over the next five years. Copies of the SASEC Operational Plan were presented on November 18 by Widowati to Sri Lanka National Policies and Economic Affairs Ministry Secretary M.I.M. Rafeek. The plan brings regional cooperation to a higher level. It envisages extended physical linkages not only within the SASEC but also with East and Southeast Asia over the next 10 years. It identifies regional road and rail links aligned closely with trade routes, as well as streamlined and harmonized trade procedures for both land-based and sea-based routes. This will open opportunities for the SASEC countries to participate more actively in regional value chains that are more advanced in Southeast Asia. The plan also promotes the development of economic corridors within and between the member countries.
Established in 2001, the SASEC programme is a project-based partnership to promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries and strengthening regional economic cooperation. Sri Lanka is one of the six member countries along with Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives
ADB is the secretariat and lead financier of the SASEC programme. To date, ADB has approved 43 SASEC projects worth almost US $ 9 billion in transport, energy, trade facilitation and information and communications technology.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totalled US $ 27.2 billion, including cofinancing of US $ 10.7 billion.