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Asia should lure more infrastructure investment: finance minister

South Korea's finance minister called on Asia Monday to better meet regional demand for infrastructure development by attracting more outside investment and strengthening ties between regional economic institutions, Seoul's finance ministry said.

Choi Kyung-hwan, who doubles as deputy prime minister for economic affairs, made the call in a speech to the board of governors session of the Asian Development Bank's annual meeting held in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

"Asian countries need to speed up growth that can allow them to overcome widespread poverty as well as the middle-income trap that can befall developing economies," Choi was quoted as saying.

"Economic growth may not be a sufficient precondition to combat poverty and other matters that can hold up a society, but it is definitely a necessary condition that needs to be met."    

To meet the challenge, Cho said the region must be able to attract various global development funds, in particular private sector money.

"The ADB needs to diversify the way it secures new funds, while each member must do their part to make themselves attractive to investors," Choi said. 

Citing data showing that infrastructure related demand in Asia will reach US$7 trillion for the 2010-2020 period, he emphasized that more money should go into infrastructure development for emerging economies and that funding must be made in a timely and efficient manner.

In order to make it possible for more funds to reach countries, there is a need for closer cooperation between the ADB and other similar organizations, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, he said.

"If such changes are made, the region as a whole, will be in a better position to meet its sustainable development goal after 2015," Choi said.   

(Yonhap)
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