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In Search of a Development Plan for Asia

It is difficult to argue with the logic behind the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia’s latest “Comprehensive Asia Development Plan.” But no matter how compelling a top-down development plan for Asia might be, it is highly unlikely ever to be implemented.

HONG KONG – Can a region as complex and fast-changing as Asia devise and implement a comprehensive development plan? The Jakarta-based Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, which just released its third “Comprehensive Asia Development Plan” (CADP), thinks so.

The report deserves serious consideration. Drawing on the research and insights of experts from the ASEAN Secretariat and institutes from 16 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and East Asian countries, it maps out how Asia could deepen regional economic integration, narrow development gaps, and advance sustainable development.

CADP 3.0 represents a major step forward from its predecessors. CADP 1.0, published in 2010, focused largely on transport infrastructure, from roads to airports. CADP 2.0, released in 2015, recognized that true connectivity – essential to regional integration – also depended on information and communications technology. CADP 3.0 takes this further, examining the role of digitization in supporting integration, innovation, inclusiveness, and sustainability.

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