Ningbo, China, 2 September 2019
Mr. Xu, Vice Mayor of Ningbo
Mr. Jiao Xiaoping, Director General of the China PPP Centre
Mr. Hongjoo Hahm, Deputy Executive Secretary of UNESCAP
Colleagues from the United Nations,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my honour to be here at the Third Meeting of the Infrastructure Financing and Public-Private Partnership Network of Asia and the Pacific. I am glad to see the continued development of a dynamic network that shares best practices and experiences on infrastructure financing and public-private partnership in our region.
Infrastructure development is crucial to every country’s sustainable development. It is crucial because it directly affects how individuals make their living, how companies conduct their businesses, and how countries and regions develop in the long run. It is for this reason that infrastructure development is included in SDG 9 as a dedicated goal in the 2030 Agenda.
While the Asia-Pacific region hosts some of the world’s most advanced infrastructure assets, it also faces some major challenges in its infrastructure development.
First, there is the urgent necessity to build more and better quality infrastructure in many areas that are currently underserved.
Second, there is the growing need to enhance the resilience and sustainability of existing and planned infrastructure. These challenges are coupled with other regional development trends, such as growing urban population, with bringing problems of congestion, air pollution, and waste management.
These challenges point to a growing infrastructure deficit across the whole region. To meet the burgeoning demand for infrastructure, new, innovative partnerships and sustainable arrangements for infrastructure financing are essential.
This requirement is particularly real as regional infrastructure over the coming 10 years is projected to require 1.6 trillion dollars, or 60% above the 2000-2015 levels annually.
In this context, public-private partnerships are one of the most efficient and cost-effective channels to fast-track collective action for regional infrastructural development.
China has a wealth of PPP business models from which to draw valuable insights. In recent years China’s expertise in this area has greatly expanded under the Belt and Road Initiative. For instance, by early 2019 the total number of ongoing National Demonstration Projects of the China PPP Centre amounted to 987, with an investment of RMB 2.2 trillion.
On this matter, I am sure Mr. Jiao will share the most relevant cases with you. The value of China’s example also lies in its determination to embrace multilateralism and international cooperation (in particular South-South cooperation), including through many examples of international and cross-border infrastructure development.
The value of this Infrastructure Financing and Public-Private Partnership Network is very apparent in cross-border infrastructure development. The multilateral, multi-stakeholder setting provided by this network provides a perfect platform for international exchange.
The second meeting of the Infrastructure Financing and Public-Private Partnership Network of Asia and the Pacific held in Manila endorsed the establishment of a web portal and sketched out a project pipeline for the network. I firmly believe that the network is heading in a very constructive direction. I am also excited to see the fruitful outcomes of the early stage projects to be shared by the country representatives later in this meeting.
To conclude, successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda depends on strengthened international cooperation at global, regional, national and sub-national levels, by all the stakeholders. PPP can play a significant role in closing the infrastructure financing gap, if designed and implemented in line with principles of sustainability.
I would like to extend my heartfelt appreciation to Mr. Jiao Xiaoping and colleagues from the China PPP Centre, for supporting the organization of this meeting.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express sincere gratitude to Mr. Qiu Dongyao, the Mayor of Ningbo, and his office for graciously hosting us in this beautiful setting.
My appreciation also goes to all participants, for being part of the network. You may be the head of your country’s PPP units, an infrastructure financing specialist or a capital market expert, but the contribution of each of you is crucial for this network to grow and thrive.
I sincerely hope that this meeting would enable all of you to share and acquire valuable insights into the most suitable practices for infrastructure financing and public-private partnership, and to take action on the Sustainable Development Goals in the spirit of the founding principles of the 2030 Agenda, building a better world for us all.