City state boosts Belt and Road Initiative for Southeast Asia
Singapore to host regional infrastructure forum in August
Singapore is ramping up its efforts to be a broker for infrastructure projects in the region, plugging China’s Belt and Road Initiative while pushing for a more “inclusive” approach in Southeast Asia.
“We hope people can recognize that BRI is for the region” and that there’s an emphasis on third-party collaboration, Teo Siong Seng, chairman of the Singapore Business Federation, said Tuesday. “It’s not only just about China.”
Singapore has emerged as a more vocal advocate for facilitating much-needed sustainable infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia, dedicating a new government agency to the effort, mobilizing the business community, and promoting its own workers as experts in professional and financial services and project management.
Since China unveiled its Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, its projects have been met with mixed reviews amid concerns around debt and financing terms, including in Southeast Asia. Malaysia’s recent renegotiation with China of an east-coast rail project demonstrates China’s willingness to address worries around the financing of such ventures, said Teo.
Singapore will host regional infrastructure events August 15-16, expecting more than 800 business leaders and senior government officials to attend from 45 countries and regions.