What is BIMP-EAGA?
The Brunei Darussalam–Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area, or BIMP-EAGA, is a cooperation initiative established in 1994 to spur development in remote and less developed areas in the four participating Southeast Asian countries.
Map of Brunei Darussalam–Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area. Source: Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The subregion covers the entire sultanate of Brunei Darussalam; the provinces of Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, and West Papua of Indonesia; the states of Sabah and Sarawak and the federal territory of Labuan in Malaysia; and the island of Mindanao and the province of Palawan in the Philippines. These areas are geographically far from the national capitals, yet strategically close to each other. These states and provinces account for over 60% of the land area of the BIMP-EAGA countries; yet they make up about 18.8% of the total population and 18.4% of the labor force.
Through BIMP-EAGA, the four countries want to generate balanced and inclusive growth as well as contribute to regional economic integration in the ASEAN Economic Community. They want to boost trade, tourism, and investments by easing the movement of people, goods, and services across borders; making the best use of common infrastructure and natural resources; and taking the fullest advantage of economic complementation.
Thanks to strong ownership and commitment, as demonstrated by the financial, human and technical resources put in by the member governments, BIMP-EAGA has grown over the last 29 years.
BIMP-EAGA’s economy in 2022 grew by 7.7%. The gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices was valued at $392.1 billion, accounting for 18.9% of the combined GDP of the four countries. Total trade in goods last year increased by 34.7% to $198.7 billion, comprising exports valued at $141.8 billion and imports amounting to $56.9 billion. Foreign direct investment went up by 46.7% to $19.9 billion and domestic investment by 19.3% to $ 8.7 billion. Tourism is on track to full recovery with arrivals increasing by 137.3% to 114.8 million in 2022 from 48.4 million in 2021.
As of October 2023, the number of priority infrastructure projects (PIPs) of BIMP-EAGA has increased by threefold to 129, amounting to $38.87 billion, from only 57 projects in 2017 when the BIMP-EAGA Vision 2025 was adopted. Of the total, 48 projects (37%) have been completed, while 81 projects are in various stages of implementation. Financing for many PIPs has been secured. These projects include roads, bridges, and railways; seaports and airports; cross-border facilities and inland transport services; ICT infrastructure; power interconnections; and urban development infrastructure and services. The PIPs provide farmers and fisherfolk improved access to markets, deliver reliable energy to rural communities, catalyze trade in border areas, and boost tourist arrivals.