Toward an innovative approach of financing infrastructure in Asia

Aladdin D. Rillo, Zulfiqar Ali


Infrastructure development is critical for sustaining Asia’s economic growth. Unfortunately, huge financing gaps—estimated by a recent Asian Development Bank study to be USD22.5 trillion—constrain the ability of most emerging Asian countries to fully realize the benefits of infrastructure development. For instance, over 70% of infrastructure investments in Asia are still funded by public resources, which pose acute financing challenges for many countries with limited budgets and fiscal constraints. This paper discusses some of the challenges associated with public financing of infrastructure projects in emerging Asian countries, before introducing some new options for alleviating their infrastructure investment needs. In particular, it proposes a new approach to infrastructure financing by utilizing the spillover effects of infrastructure investment, where additional revenues generated from such investment can be channeled back to investors as subsidy to increase the returns to their investment. The paper also argues the need for Asian countries to implement fiscal reforms and to develop a more balanced approach to financing, one that involves both the private and public sector. 


public finance; financial innovation; infrastructure development

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