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ADB, Partners to Set Up New Platform to Catalyze Investments in Sustainable Infrastructure in Asia

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a memorandum of understanding with HSBC, Temasek, and Clifford Capital Holdings to set up a debt financing platform to boost commercial development of sustainable infrastructure projects in Asia, with an initial focus on Southeast Asia.

The platform aims to turn marginally bankable projects into bankable ones by providing concessional capital and addressing policy and regulatory constraints hampering private investments in sustainable infrastructure. The partners’ initial focus will be on clean transport, renewable energy and energy storage, and water and waste management. Additional areas such as climate adaptation, agriculture and land use, and technology-led solutions could be included in the future.

“As developing countries in Asia transition toward a greener and sustainable future, ADB is stepping up its engagement with governments and other aligned actors to expand the pool of bankable, sustainable infrastructure projects, increase their risk-return profile, and attract financing from private investors,” said ADB Vice-President Ahmed M. Saeed. “ADB will provide technical assistance in project development and sector reforms and work with our partners to use blended finance and other risk mitigation solutions to mobilize sustainable infrastructure financing across Asia.”

Developing Asia needs to invest $26 trillion, or $1.7 trillion a year, from 2016 to 2030 to maintain its growth momentum, end poverty, and address climate change. Southeast Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change.

The public sector has financed most of Asia’s infrastructure projects, but it cannot meet the rising demand in the region. Increasingly, governments are encouraging the private sector to invest in infrastructure. However, up to 65% of Asia’s infrastructure projects are not considered bankable, and it requires significant upfront cost and time on project preparation to get the projects to a bankable stage.

Marginally bankable projects typically face a range of barriers to accessing private sector finance. These may include a variety of capability, policy, and economic issues which can impact a project’s ability to attract commercial financing.

The initiative aims to bridge the financing gap by helping countries develop bankable sustainable infrastructure projects based on global standards. Following an initial feasibility assessment, it is envisaged that HSBC and Temasek will be equity partners in the platform and ADB and Clifford Capital Holdings will be strategic partners.

The platform will apply international best practices for environmental, social, and governance, in line with safeguards standards set by international financial institutions. It may also consider emerging initiatives such as the FAST-Infra Sustainable Infrastructure Label.

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Blue Economy Offers Opportunities for Sustainable Growth in Tunisia

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With support from the World Bank, in June 2022, Tunisia launched its first report on the status of the blue economy. The report, titled in French “L’économie bleue en Tunisie: Opportunité pour un développement intégré et durable de la mer et des zones côtières” (The Blue Economy in Tunisia: An Opportunity for Integrated and Sustainable Development of the Sea and Coastal Areas), recommends initial guidelines for a national strategy in this area. Spearheaded by the Ministry of the Environment and the Secretariat General for Maritime Affairs, the report is the product of extensive consultation with stakeholders in the blue economy, including the public and private sectors, researchers, and various civil society organizations.

Tunisia has more than 1,300 km of coastline. Its coastal areas are home to 7.6 million people (more than 66% of its population) who depend heavily on coastal and marine resources for their livelihoods. The report identifies avenues for sustainable development of the blue economy through tourism, fishing and aquaculture, maritime transport, ocean-based renewable energy, marine biotechnology, and other activities.

The blue economy offers an opportunity for sustainable development and wealth creation for Tunisia through sustainable use of marine and coastal resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and healthy marine and coastal ecosystems,” said Alexandre Arrobbio, World Bank Country Manager for Tunisia. “I welcome the Government’s commitment to developing the blue economy in Tunisia as part of its next development plan,” he added.

The report identifies three strategic objectives: (i) promotion of economic growth of maritime activities (ii) social inclusion and gender equality, and (iii) sustainability of natural resources and ecosystem services. To achieve these objectives, five areas of intervention are proposed: establishment of institutional governance; promotion of resources and financing mechanisms; support for job creation, poverty alleviation, the inclusion of vulnerable groups, and gender mainstreaming; development of knowledge of marine and coastal capital; and strengthening of resilience to climate change.

Following the publication of this report, the Tunisian Government and the World Bank will continue their cooperation for the development of the blue economy in Tunisia. The World Bank has mobilized the PROBLUE Trust Fund to undertake the second phase of technical assistance, supporting a roadmap for the development of the blue economy in Tunisia. In the second phase of assistance to Tunisia, the Bank will conduct analyses and offer advice on institutional policies and promotion of public and private investment, in addition to providing support for strategic and operational dialogue with relevant stakeholders.

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Ray Dalio: Dollar-dominated global order is ‘fading away’

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Photo: Asia.Nikkei

With the dollar losing clout and the world dividing into competing currency and economic blocs, American investor Ray Dalio said it will be countries less vulnerable to global conflict like those in Southeast Asia that prosper in coming years.

Dalio, who founded the $150 billion U.S. hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, said that the current world order is changing in ways more similar to the time leading up to and during World War II than the post-war period. “We are seeing each country’s populism and nationalism growing in preparation for greater conflicts,” he said.

Dalio saw greater risk and consequences for a war today than during the Cold War, “because the Soviet Union was never a comparable power to the United States” economically. China has emerged as that economic rival, he said.

And then there is the matter of the dollar’s declining clout. The era of a “dollar-dominated world order” and a globalized economy was “fading away,” Dalio said. “We are now going to have the major powers and their allies form economic, currency, and military blocs.”

In addition to the U.S., Europe and Japan – both mature economies home to key currencies – “have run up very large debts and have developed a dependence on their central banks to print money to buy the government debts,” he said. The increase in debt monetization “will mean that holders of debt assets will get bad inflation-adjusted returns.”

He instead recommended investing in countries that have sound finances, have no serious internal conflicts, are less vulnerable to international war, and are continuing to innovate.

His list included members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations like Indonesia and Vietnam, as well as India and countries in the Saudi Arabia-led Gulf Cooperation Council.

Those desiring globalization will now look beyond the United States, China and Europe,” he said.

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All-In on AI: How Smart Companies Win Big With Artificial Intelligence

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Launching today, “All-In on AI” examines how extensive AI adoption offers a distinct competitive advantage to companies across a wide variety of industries. Widespread AI adoption is no longer merely the tech industry’s prerogative; small to midsize companies and legacy businesses older than Silicon Valley can also benefit by integrating AI into their business strategies. “All-In on AI” delves into real examples of such companies that have transformed their business models, products, processes, strategies, cultures and more by fully embracing AI.

With less than 1% of large companies using AI extensively, the book uncovers and outlines the untapped potential of AI in a quickly accelerating digital world. It draws on the experience of its authors: Tom Davenport, a renowned author, academic, and specialist in business innovation, analytics, and artificial intelligence; and Nitin Mittal, the AI innovation award-winning leader of Deloitte’s AI business, and principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP. By analyzing case studies and working with companies that have seen widespread AI integration transform their business, the authors thoroughly illustrate what it means to be “AI fueled,” from strategic archetypes for adoption to the human side, technology and data, capabilities, and industry use cases.

“All-In on AI” focuses on the transformative capabilities of aggressive AI adoption, rather than the experiments and narrow deployments that characterize most companies’ approaches. The “all in” approach to AI can help companies differentiate themselves from the competition. The book also calls for an assumption of augmentation, in which artificial intelligence and human capabilities can interact in business. It lays out what leaders will need to take into consideration when applying AI broadly across a company’s enterprises.

“At Deloitte, we determined that AI would play a major role in our organization’s future, and we have invested in embedding AI across our audit, tax, consulting and risk advisory businesses. Our commitment to becoming AI fueled means that our professionals and AI systems work closely and collaboratively, augmenting each other” said Jason Girzadas, Deloitte’s managing principal of businesses, global and strategic services. “’All-in on AI’ provides a roadmap for any business leader committed to transforming their business through the power of AI.”

“All-In on AI” will help readers learn:

  • How companies with an “all-in” approach to artificial intelligence can transform their business models, operations and customer relationships and differentiate themselves from non-AI powered counterparts.
  • Why company leadership and culture are fundamental for a successful AI-powered transformation.
  • How AI can enable new business strategies, process designs and products/services for innovation and growth.• How case-study companies have sustainably achieved AI integration at a large scale. 
  • How to develop ethical AI capabilities through transparency, fairness, reliability, privacy, safety, robustness and more.

Learn more about “All-In On AI” and purchase the book on the website.

About the authors
Tom Davenport is the president’s distinguished professor of information technology and management at Babson College, a visiting professor at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, a fellow of the MIT Initiative on the digital economy, and a senior advisor to Deloitte’s AI practice. He pioneered the concept of “competing on analytics” with his best-selling 2006 Harvard Business Review article (and his 2007 book by the same name). He has published over 20 books and over 300 articles for Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, and many other publications. He writes columns for Forbes, MIT Sloan Management Review, and the Wall Street Journal. He has been named one of the world’s “Top 25 Consultants” by Consulting magazine, one of the top three business/technology analysts in the world by Optimize magazine, one of the 100 most influential people in the IT industry by Ziff-Davis magazines, and one of the world’s top 50 business school professors by Fortune magazine. He’s also been a LinkedIn Top Voice for both the education and tech sectors.

Nitin Mittal is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP. He currently serves as the U.S. artificial intelligence (AI) strategic growth offering leader. He is the 2019 recipient of the AI Innovator of the Year award at the AI Summit, New York. He specializes in advising clients to achieve competitive advantage through data and AI powered transformations that promote amplified intelligence and enable our clients to make strategic choices and transform ahead of disruption.
Throughout his career, Mittal has served as a trusted advisor on data, analytics and AI and has worked across a number of industry sectors. His primary focus has been working with life sciences and health care clients, implementing large scale data programs that promote organizational intelligence, and the use of advanced analytics and AI to drive insights and business strategy.

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