Increased Connectivity to Help BBIN Face Post-COVID Shocks
8 July 2020
Extensive connectivity in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregion is needed to respond to economic vulnerabilities brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Mr. Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International, said that the BBIN subregion needs to look at multimodal connectivity in light of the need to create jobs and infrastructure to respond to economic shocks.
COVID-induced supply side shocks can spill over to the demand side resulting in large-scale unemployment and developmental challenges, he said. BBIN countries are particularly vulnerable given that the pandemic has yet to peak in the subregion, he said. Mr. Mehta was speaking at a webinar on multimodal connectivity in BBIN.
Mr. Kuancheng Huang, Senior Transport Specialist of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), said that increased connectivity is a precondition for ADB’s work on reducing poverty and promoting gender equality.
“As part of ADB’s South Asian Subregional Economic Cooperation initiative, trade and transport infrastructure are being developed in all these countries to enable them to do trade in a more cost-effective manner,” he said. Their location, he said, allows BBIN countries to efficiently access global value chains.