ITF in Focus: Connectivity and inclusive growth in emerging economies: the role of regional freight transport


19 May
09:00 to 10:30


Hall 3, Level +1

Transport connectivity plays a fundamental role in enabling people and firms access to regional and international markets. Better transport connectivity can increase trade volume and competitiveness of different cities and countries and reduce transport costs, thereby promoting economic growth, social integration, income distribution, and poverty reduction. 

In developing countries, enhancing transport connectivity is particularly crucial given the rising freight demand, which is forecast to continue growing according to the ITF Transport Outlook 2021. Thus, improving the quantity and quality of freight transport infrastructure is essential, especially in major corridors and networks, to make border-crossing and international transport easier, cheaper and faster. Moreover, better transport connectivity can help developing countries achieve multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as resilient infrastructure and industrialisation (Goal 9), inclusive growth (Goal 8), and ending poverty (Goal 1).

While implementing different measures to improve the regional connectivity in emerging economies, particularly for land-locked countries and remote areas, a few key aspects need to be considered. First, intra-regional and local connectivity must complement the main international corridors to enable inclusive growth in these economies. Additionally, connectivity gaps are not always infrastructure-related but are closely related to supply chain organisations and institutions. Finally, transport connectivity needs to be digital, resilient and decarbonised, as countries are committed to the climate goals and recovering from the COVID-19 crisis. 

This session contributes to the debate about promoting inclusive growth through regional connectivity enhancement by addressing the following key questions:

1. What challenges and opportunities do emerging regions face in promoting inclusive growth? 

2. What is the role of regional freight transport connectivity in contributing to inclusive growth? 

3. How can we ensure that connectivity enhancement actions also contribute to the objectives of decarbonisation, resilience and fairer society?

4. What are adequate and innovative ways to finance the actions of enhancing regional transport connectivity in emerging markets? What roles do different entities play, for example, public sector, private sector, multilateral investment banks, infrastructure development funds, etc?


Philip Van Den Bosch

Senior Freight Strategy Advisor

International Union of Railways (UIC)

James Leather

Chief of the Transport Sector Group

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Binyam Reja

Global Practice Manager & Acting Global Director for Transport

World Bank

Radu Dinescu


International Road Transport Union (IRU)

Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid

Secretary General

Federation of European Private Port Companies and Terminals (FEPORT)


ITF in Focus session: Connectivity and inclusive growth in emerging economies: freight transport