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Innovation for Water Infrastructure Development in the Mekong Region

image of Innovation for Water Infrastructure Development in the Mekong Region

Water-related infrastructure could contribute significantly to the development of the Mekong region. At the same time, poor water infrastructure could lead to development challenges for the countries in the region. Innovation for Water Infrastructure Development in the Mekong Region discusses the challenges facing the region as well as the possible innovative policy options, including those used in Emerging Asian countries, and with reference to the experiences of OECD member countries. It provides analysis and recommendations for the region’s policy makers to consider in their efforts to improve water infrastructure. The report first provides an overview of the socio-economic contributions and environmental challenges of the Mekong River. It then presents some potential new financing options for the development of water infrastructure, using digital tools such as Fintech and blockchain. It also examines the potential of using the spillover effect of tax revenues to attract private finance. It then goes on to discuss the importance of strengthening water infrastructure resilience against natural disasters, including the current COVID-19 pandemic, and finally analyses the challenges of water regulations in the Mekong region.

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Executive summary

Countries in the Mekong region recorded impressive economic growth in the last decades, mainly due to the economic opportunities provided by the Mekong River, at the same time, they also face multiple challenges. For instance, water infrastructure needs are increasing but private sector participation in water infrastructure remains dismal and options of infrastructure financing are limited. In addition, there remains ample room for improvement of water regulations. Innovative approaches are therefore needed to address these challenges. Innovation for Water Infrastructure Development in the Mekong Region covers five main topics: the socio-economic contributions and environmental challenges of the Mekong River (Chapter 1), the potential of digital infrastructure financing, with a focus on Fintech and blockchain (Chapter 2), the merits of inducing private finance to water supply and inland water transport using spillover tax revenues (Chapter 3), the resilience of water infrastructure to natural disasters and COVID-19 (Chapter 4), and the challenges of water regulation in the Mekong region (Chapter 5).

English

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