From L-R: Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, and Indonesia's President Joko Widodo attend the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane on September 6, 2016. Photo: AFP, Roslan Rahman

A JCER/Nikkei Consensus Survey of twenty-three economists from five Southeast Asian countries paints a picture of stronger more diverse economies, reports Nikkei Asian Review.

Respondents cited reforms since the 1997 crisis along with prudent policies that have underpinned strong growth, as ASEAN has joined China and India in outperforming the world economy.

Infrastructure remains a challenge for the region. The Asian Development Bank estimates infrastructure spending demand in 45 Asian countries will balloon to US$26 trillion by 2030. Projects in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand will have to overcome patterns of delays.

Financial reforms also need to make more progress, with the chairman of Indonesia’s CIDES, Umar Juoro, pointing out the banks have not reached their potential to support growth.

Finally, ASEAN has much work to do in the area of regional integration. Randolph Tan of Singapore University of Social Sciences notes that the region has been much slower than Europe to resolve historical differences, but that regional integration is important for the economic success of the region.

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