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Bimstec foreign ministers agree on $50bn project

  • Published at 12:17 pm August 30th, 2018
Photo: UNB

The consensus at Wednesday’s meeting following a detailed ADB study

Foreign ministers of the Bimstec nations have agreed on a plan to improve connectivity among the member countries.

On Wednesday, they agreed, in principle, to push forward with 167 connectivity-related projects that would cost an estimated $50 billion, reports the Kathmandu Post.

The consensus came following a detailed study by the Asian Development Bank. The study included: transportation and cross-border facilitation, multimodal transport and logistics, infrastructure development, aviation, maritime transport, human resources development—as well as communication linkages and networking.

The Bimstec Transport Infrastructure and Logistic Study (BTILS) was updated by the ADB in 2014. Out of 167 projects, the study has prioritized 66 projects.

Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali told the Post that the member states are developing a Bimstec Transport Connectivity Master Plan, with a goal to complete it by the end of September this year. 

“Several multilateral donor agencies are interested to put money in this master plan,” Gyawali said. “We have received interest from ADB, [the] World Bank and other multilateral agencies to push these projects.”

During the meeting, Gyawali called on his counterparts to focus on: connectivity, trade, tourism, energy, and agriculture.

Wednesday’s meeting also underlined the establishment of Bimstec’s Permanent Secretariat in Bangladesh; Bimstec’s Cultural Industries Observatory (BCIO) in Bhutan; and Bimstec’s Centre for Weather and Climate (BCWC) in India—as some of the key achievements in institutional development.