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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        5  April 2011

ADB to increase Philippines lending

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Monday said it will increase infrastructure investment in the region.

Rajit Nag, managing director of ADB said the Manila-based lender plans to increase its infrastructure investment in the region to 80 percent of its total lending by 2013 from the current share of 65 percent.

“We expect to improve further our infrastructure investment in the region,” Nag said. He said the ADB’s infrastructure lending amounted to US$2 billion a year.

Nag said transport connectivity is critical to the region as trade is expected to double because of the integration.

“We will trade more with those not only outside our region, but also within our region,” Nag said.

Based on the ADB’s Promoting Regional Infrastructure Development report, $299-million worth of Asian Highway Priority Projects in the Philippines still await financing.

From 1996 to 2008, the ADB funded a combined 3,517 kilometers of roads in the Philippines.

“A significant proportion of the links in the Philippines are bypasses along the central north-south highway and other sections of roads, mainly in Mindanao, appear to be national priorities,” the ADB report said.

Earlier, the National Economic and Development Authority said the indicative assistance pipeline for ADB lending next year would amount to US$1.39 billion, higher than this year’s $969 million. For 2012, the indicative loan assistance amounts to $1.35 billion.

In 2009, the Philippines, among Southeast Asian countries, was the third-largest recipient of loan assistance from ADB to counter the world economic slowdown.

Manila received $1.18 billion in ADB loans last year from $820 million in 2008.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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