AUSTRALIAN providers of professional services – in finance, legal, accounting, civil engineering, construction and consultancy —can offer enormous experience and knowledge in the early steps required to secure major infrastructure projects associated with China’s One Belt, One Road initiative . . .
Charles Ng, Acting Director-General of InvestHK, believes Australia’s understanding of building infrastructure projects in developing countries, not to mention pioneering projects in isolated parts of Australia, is a resource that should not be under-estimated.
“You have expertise in creating the investment proposition for cross-border infrastructure,” he says, “as well as the ability to create the platforms that will drive and protect these platforms.
Hong Kong is positioning to play a key role as a financing hub for OBOR projects, in part through an Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office (IFFO).
This has been set up by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, which acts as Hong Kong’s central bank.
Ng says InvestHK is working closely with the IFFO to attract parties able to offer expertise in developing sound financial and legal frameworks for private sector infrastructure projects, frameworks that give comfort to investors that they can anticipate realistic financial returns over long pay-back periods.
Hong Kong, he says, also has the ability to build bridges to leverage funding for OBOR through the Hong Kong-Shanghai Connect and Hong Kong-Shenzhen Connect of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
IFFO’s mission is to facilitate infrastructure investments and their financing by working with a cluster of key stakeholders.
“We are talking infrastructure — energy and power stations, seaports, airports, roads, railways, bridges — and as countries start developing these kinds of things they will need lawyers, accountants, different kinds of professional service providers, to help them put it all together,” Ng told ATI Magazine.