CoST in Southeast Asia – Infrastructure transparency, a baseline assessment

As part of our collaboration with the UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), CoST has undertaken ground-breaking research into the infrastructure investment environment across Southeast Asia. Four country studies, covering Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, identify both the challenges and opportunities for strengthening public infrastructure investment in the region.

The research is most timely given the region’s accelerated infrastructure spending and significant investment needs. According to HSBC, the six largest members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – require more than US$2.1 trillion in infrastructure spending by 2030. However, current spending trends in these countries is noted to only cover US$910 billion (HSBC, August 2016). This is equivalent to a US$1.2 trillion infrastructure investment gap.

As the leading infrastructure investment initiative, CoST has worked with local researchers to understand the needs on the ground. Specifically, the country studies explore:

  • key characteristics of public infrastructure investment and governance in each country; 

  • public infrastructure transparency policy and practice (baseline) in each country; and,

  • scope for improving public infrastructure transparency and accountability, specifically the CoST value-add and potential challenges/barriers to implementation, in country. 

In addition to secondary research, the studies provide primary research on the current transparency requirements in each country and their alignment with the CoST Infrastructure Data Standard (IDS). Research shows that of the four countries, Thailand and Vietnam have the strongest transparency policy requirements with 23 of the 40 CoST IDS data points required by law. Indonesia and Malaysia have a weaker framework for transparency with only 10 and three of the CoST IDS data points required by law respectively. Nonetheless in practice, Indonesia has the highest rate of compliance with legal transparency requirements at a level of 53% on average (see graph below).


Click on a flag below to download the relevant country study and find out more:


From the country studies, CoST International will be drawing the key findings and lessons into a regional report on Southeast Asia to be launched shortly. The report will feature new analysis on the underlying factors that have contributed to the success and failures of CoST interventions outside Southeast Asia and the regional opportunities for transparency and accountability in public infrastructure. To find out more about the project, please contact Eleanor Morgan – CoST Communications Manager.

As always, stay tuned for updates from the project by following @CoSTransparency and #ASEANCoST

Date Published: 30 March 2017
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