What is SASEC?
The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program, set up in 2001, brings together Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka in a project-based partnership to promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries, and strengthening regional economic cooperation.
The shared vision of SASEC is to increase trade and cooperation within South Asia, create linkages to East and Southeast Asia, ensure fast and least-cost cross-border movement of goods, people, and business, and improve opportunity and the quality of life for the people of the SASEC subregion. There is huge potential to increase mutually beneficial trade between the six SASEC countries and create access to distant Asian regional markets in the least economically integrated region in the world.
Since 2001, SASEC countries have implemented 44 regional projects worth around $9.05 billion in the energy, transport, trade facilitation, economic corridor development, and information and communications technology (ICT) sectors. SASEC helps countries strengthen road, rail, and air links, and create the conditions necessary to provide reliable energy and boost intraregional trade in South Asia to cater to the needs of the region's growing economies.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) serves as Secretariat to the SASEC Program. ADB supports SASEC countries in strengthening regional ties for growth and promoting cooperation; and provides financial and technical support to improve connectivity, strengthen institutions and trade links, and expand human capital.