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Finding investors a challenge for ASEAN connectivity projects

Profitability issue often derails public-private partnerships

KUALA LUMPUR/JAKARTA -- Southeast Asian countries are in dire need of new roads and other facilities to keep pace with their rapid economic development of recent years. Yet public-private partnerships, viewed as a promising means of funding such projects, often fail to take off due to uncertainty over profitability.

"What are you waiting for? You should kick-start one or two pilot projects to keep the ball rolling," a Malaysian official told a representative from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at a meeting on regional connectivity in Kuala Lumpur in November.

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