Brunei set to become a major hub of BIMP-EAGA

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Arno Maierbrugger
By Arno Maierbrugger

Brunei could greatly improve its role in the region as a major business and transport hub within the Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) region if current developments are continuing.

First of all, Brunei is part of four major projects with total investments of up to $20 billion in the region – as reported by Brunei Times – that include the Trans Borneo Railway, a 4,440-kilometer network that will stretch across Borneo Island and will connect Bandar Seri Begawan to main cities in Malaysia and Indonesia. Then there is the proposed ASEAN Halal Park, an integrated project that will set up a large number of halal-certified manufacturing companies, aiming to become the strongest manufacturing centre for premium halal products on the global market. With regards to infrastructure, there will be new bus connections within the Trans-Borneo Bus Services, and the expected launch of Darussalam Air, Brunei’s first low-cost carrier that is expected to greatly improve accessibility of the nation and affordability of air travel in the BIMP-EAGA region. With its main hub in Brunei, Darussalam Air is also expected to increase the number of stopover tourists in Brunei, especially those from the Southern Philippines and Eastern Indonesia, as well as from China.

The Trans-Borneo Railway will connect Sarawak, Sabah, Kalimantan and Brunei with the major sea ports and airports and will also make Borneo’s vast commodity resources such as coal, timber and minerals easily accessible, with Brunei expected to become an important trade and shipping hub for these commodities in the region and beyond.

Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei can vastly benefit from such a project because they already have active port industries that are being upgraded and added to in efforts to reach some of the fastest growing consumer markets in the world.

Furthermore, the projects in BIMP-EAGA will create an estimated 20,000 jobs, which augurs well for the region. While it is expected that many of the jobs will be taken on by Overseas Filipino Workers, there will also be plenty of job opportunities for Bruneians. The demand includes skilled workers, contractors, design firms, engineers, consultants and many other specialists. The projects will also give opportunity to the still underdeveloped public-private partnership (PPP) sector for foreign investors and partners, as well as the local private sector and government-related firms.

BIMP-EAGA is also a chance for Brunei to greatly improve its own food security. A food and logistics corridor programme in the region is under development, there are plans to increase production of hybrid rice and corn seeds as well as to enhance food trade and agribusiness development. All in all, the major push of BIMP-EAGA member regions in economic cooperation and joint projects is a big step forward for Brunei’s vision to reach a diversified economy in the future.

Major projects are ongoing in the BIMP-EAGA region that will greatly benefit Brunei. Are you missing anything, for example entrepreneurial initiatives or projects for better participation of small and medium enterprises? Let us know through Twitter: @insideinvestor using hashtag #bruneitimes.

 

brunei_times_logoThis comment is part of Inside Investor’s weekly column series in Brunei’s leading newspaper Brunei Times and is published every Monday.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Arno Maierbrugger

Brunei could greatly improve its role in the region as a major business and transport hub within the Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) region if current developments are continuing.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Arno Maierbrugger
By Arno Maierbrugger

Brunei could greatly improve its role in the region as a major business and transport hub within the Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) region if current developments are continuing.

First of all, Brunei is part of four major projects with total investments of up to $20 billion in the region – as reported by Brunei Times – that include the Trans Borneo Railway, a 4,440-kilometer network that will stretch across Borneo Island and will connect Bandar Seri Begawan to main cities in Malaysia and Indonesia. Then there is the proposed ASEAN Halal Park, an integrated project that will set up a large number of halal-certified manufacturing companies, aiming to become the strongest manufacturing centre for premium halal products on the global market. With regards to infrastructure, there will be new bus connections within the Trans-Borneo Bus Services, and the expected launch of Darussalam Air, Brunei’s first low-cost carrier that is expected to greatly improve accessibility of the nation and affordability of air travel in the BIMP-EAGA region. With its main hub in Brunei, Darussalam Air is also expected to increase the number of stopover tourists in Brunei, especially those from the Southern Philippines and Eastern Indonesia, as well as from China.

The Trans-Borneo Railway will connect Sarawak, Sabah, Kalimantan and Brunei with the major sea ports and airports and will also make Borneo’s vast commodity resources such as coal, timber and minerals easily accessible, with Brunei expected to become an important trade and shipping hub for these commodities in the region and beyond.

Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei can vastly benefit from such a project because they already have active port industries that are being upgraded and added to in efforts to reach some of the fastest growing consumer markets in the world.

Furthermore, the projects in BIMP-EAGA will create an estimated 20,000 jobs, which augurs well for the region. While it is expected that many of the jobs will be taken on by Overseas Filipino Workers, there will also be plenty of job opportunities for Bruneians. The demand includes skilled workers, contractors, design firms, engineers, consultants and many other specialists. The projects will also give opportunity to the still underdeveloped public-private partnership (PPP) sector for foreign investors and partners, as well as the local private sector and government-related firms.

BIMP-EAGA is also a chance for Brunei to greatly improve its own food security. A food and logistics corridor programme in the region is under development, there are plans to increase production of hybrid rice and corn seeds as well as to enhance food trade and agribusiness development. All in all, the major push of BIMP-EAGA member regions in economic cooperation and joint projects is a big step forward for Brunei’s vision to reach a diversified economy in the future.

Major projects are ongoing in the BIMP-EAGA region that will greatly benefit Brunei. Are you missing anything, for example entrepreneurial initiatives or projects for better participation of small and medium enterprises? Let us know through Twitter: @insideinvestor using hashtag #bruneitimes.

 

brunei_times_logoThis comment is part of Inside Investor’s weekly column series in Brunei’s leading newspaper Brunei Times and is published every Monday.

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