By connecting suppliers and markets, improving efficiencies and fostering indirect economic benefits, roads and railways, along with other kinds of transportation infrastructure, play fundamental roles in driving growth and development. While Emerging Asia (the ten ASEAN Member States, China and India) is expected to see continued strong performance in the future – with real GDP growing by an average 6.3% per year over 2018-22, according to the Economic Outlook for Southeast Asia, China and India 2018 – the demand for infrastructure remains high and additional investment is needed to support sustained economic expansion. At the same time, new approaches to infrastructure investment are also needed that prioritise the quality of these projects, addressing issues including effective governance, economic efficiency and resilience, empowerment of local communities, consideration of social and environmental impacts, alignment with economic and development strategies, and resource mobilisation.

Road and Rail Infrastructure in Asia: Investing in Quality discusses the challenges facing the region and possible policy options to be considered, including those that have been or are being used in Emerging Asian countries and with reference to the experiences of OECD member countries and others. Case studies of recent road and rail infrastructure projects in Asia are used to illustrate ways in which quality infrastructure principles have been applied in practice. In addressing deficiencies in infrastructure, this report outlines some of the key considerations to be made regarding the responsibilities of local governments in infrastructure development and management, public and private financing instruments, and the alignment of infrastructure and development planning.

This publication, in focusing on infrastructure challenges in Asia, is intended to provide analysis and recommendations that are relevant for policy makers in the region to consider in their efforts to ameliorate the quality of infrastructure.

The OECD Development Centre is committed to working alongside the governments of developing and emerging economies and regional actors to identify key areas of intervention in order to address challenges in infrastructure investment and other policy areas. The Centre enjoys the full membership of three Southeast Asian countries, namely Indonesia, Thailand and Viet Nam, as well as India and China. Committed to supporting Asian countries in their efforts to promote economic and social well-being through rigorous analysis, peer learning and the sharing of best practices, we hope that this report will highlight the importance of investing in quality road and rail infrastructure and contribute to discussions on its role in the region’s development.

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