Five Southeast Asia countries are set to bridge China and India - Asia's two largest economies - but whether or not they boost economic development remains to be seen, according to analysts at ANZ bank.
Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam - which ANZ calls the Greater Mekong 5 (GM-5) - have the potential to connect South, Southeast and East Asia, which could help the region become one of the world's fastest growing, it said.
The GM-5 have a combined population of 300 million, are strategically located and have rich natural resources, but remain underdeveloped and predominantly rural economies, said ANZ.
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"Improving the transport connection within the GM-5 should link the varied natural resources of the countries, encourage specialization, develop a supply chain, and ultimately transform the transport corridors into effective economic corridors," said the ANZ analysts.
Thanks to a plan launched by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) over 20 years ago, huge progress has been made in improving transport infrastructure to link the more developed urban areas to the inner rural zones and develop the isolated borders as key economic zones.
The Transport Master Plan launched in 1995 - by the ADB and other partners - involved the creation of a transport network consisting of three main corridors with several routes. The North-South Economic corridor (NSEC), the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) and the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC), all oriented toward seaports and giving land-locked countries access to world markets.