Mrs Regina Ip Spoke at "2017 South-South Cooperation Financial Forum"
On 13 December, Mrs Regina Ip, Co-Chair of Maritime Silk Road Society (MSRS) made a keynote speech at the “2017 South-South Cooperation Financial Forum - Belt and Road: Financial Integration and Credit Enhancement”. The Forum was held at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, and was organized by Finance Center for South-South Cooperation, Tsinghua PBC School of Finance, and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, with MSRS being one of the co-organizers.
The purpose of the Forum was to facilitate the “Belt and Road” Initiative by providing efficient, safe, convenient and sustainable finance services. About 300 finance experts from Hong Kong, the Mainland and overseas attended the forum.
According to Mrs Ip, the “Belt and Road” Initiative, launched by President Xi Jinping four years ago, was a highly visionary and ambitious development strategy.
To stimulate the economic development of developing countries, investment in infrastructure would be of utmost importance. The Asian Development Bank recently updated its forecast and estimated that between 2016 and 2030, the financing requirement for infrastructural development in this region would amount to US$2.6 trillion.
In 2015, Hong Kong’s GDP was about US$309 billion, representing less than 2% of Asia’s annual infrastructure funding requirements.
To remedy this shortfall, China put forward the “Belt and Road” Initiative. In 2015 alone, China’s direct overseas investment amounted to US$146 billion with Hong Kong being the largest recipient of 60% of the total*. That gives an idea of the important role played by Hong Kong as a recipient of investment and as an intermediary in channeling the capital inflow into various economic projects. Given our position as one of the world’s top three global financial centres, Hong Kong is well-placed to help to provide funding for the infrastructural development in this region.
To help raise private finance for infrastructural development, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority has established the Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Promotion Office (IFFO) in July last year. The idea of IFFO is to put together project operators with organizations and financiers who would be able to provide finance for the infrastructural projects.
The IFFO will put together multilateral financial agencies, national development banks, public and private investors, asset managers, infrastructure project operators and sponsors and with other Hong Kong players providing intermediary services. The IFFO is anticipated to organize more workshops and roundtables to help raise more funds for infrastructural financing projects in this region.
Mrs Ip also took part in the Framework Agreement Signing Ceremony between Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and Finance Center for South-South Cooperation.
*Information obtained from a speech of 7 July 2017 on the Hong Kong Monetary Authority website