Global Economics Monthly: Asia's Next Act: Infrastructure Reshapes the Region

Volume V, Issue 10, October 2016

If decades of torrid growth have been the opening scene on Asia’s economic stage, the region’s reconnecting—through new roads, railways, and other infrastructure—could be the next act.
 
A geoeconomic contest is unfolding across the Eurasian landmass and around its maritime periphery, with regional powers ramping up their infrastructure spending. Over the next decade, Asia’s infrastructure market could grow by 8 percent annually, rising to nearly 60 percent of the global total. That spending will only scratch the surface of the region’s infrastructure needs, which are estimated to exceed $1 trillion annually.
 
Economically and strategically, the stakes are high. New connections could deepen integration and expand prosperity. They also have the potential to reconfigure relationships, reroute flows of goods and people, and shift power within and between states. But questions remain about the feasibility of the underlying projects, which face obstacles as big and diverse as the region itself.

Jonathan E. Hillman