The USD 508.62 million CLSG Interconnector Project is a landmark cross-border project involving the construction of a transmission line of over 1,300km, with the aim to interconnect the CLSG countries’ energy systems into the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) regional energy network.
Over the last decade, much has been written about globalisation and how we’re more connected than ever before. In the infrastructure world, we think of connectivity as the “linkages of communities, economies and nations through transport, communications, energy, and water networks across a number of countries” .
When we as consumers decide to invest our money—whether through shares, bonds, or other instruments—we look at whether our investment will deliver a solid financial return. It makes sense then that the same risk-return principle is applied to investments in infrastructure.
Infrastructure can often be used as a pawn in the political chess game, not only at a federal level between political parties, but at a foreign policy level too. It’s crucial that a cross-border infrastructure project has political support and cooperation from all parties involved, and that it’s being supported not for political gain, but to further regional development. A lack of strong political leadership can be detrimental to a cross-border project, and weak capacity can be a deterrent to investors.
As outlined earlier in this blog series, private investors are looking for reliable returns to justify the risks that they are taking. Financing and procurement of cross-border projects will often be more complex than national projects due to the scale of the project and compounded risks, and the financial returns may be more uncertain than for national projects.
Risks can be hard to define, manage and mitigate. In infrastructure projects that cross regional or national borders and involve multiple parties from both the public and private sector, these risks may be amplified.
While the infrastructure financing gap is huge, one of the main constraints to infrastructure development is not a lack of finance, but instead, a lack of well-prepared, bankable infrastructure projects.
Tackling the global infrastructure gap remains a priority for governments to drive inclusive growth and deliver quality infrastructure projects for their citizens.
Globally, governments are accountable for the development of infrastructure and the delivery of basic services in an affordable and inclusive manner. The ability of governments to nurture a conducive enabling environment for infrastructure investment has often been found to be a key differentiator between countries that successfully scale up infrastructure and those that face challenges in doing so.
Inadequate financing for project preparation can result in projects being taken to procurement without the requisite readiness, which can lead to cost and time overruns during implementation, or a project that is not well-suited to the needs of the public.
Well-planned and prioritised infrastructure investment improves productivity, engenders competitiveness and contributes to long-term sustainable economic growth. Nevertheless, the extent of realising these benefits from infrastructure investment varies considerably across sectors, by regions and by level of regulatory and institutional maturity.
Most infrastructure investment plans and government policies rely on the delivery of projects and programs. To achieve these and unlock the real benefits of infrastructure, it is vital that projects and programs are delivered well.
Communication throughout infrastructure project preparation should be recognised as a strategic activity. It should factor in the importance of all key stakeholder groups towards the project, tailor communicative actions to engage and inform them and foster a supportive environment.
Although Indonesia’s PPP regulations date back to 2005, initially the number of actual project transactions between the government and private sector was very limited. The private sector’s interest in Indonesian projects was constrained by three main factors; the low quality of project preparation, low financial feasibility of projects (particularly those related to the determination of tariffs) and uncertainty related to the political risk of projects.
India’s project preparation framework is steered by its line ministries and sub-national governments, who are adopting a streamlined and systematic approach to project development. The capacity of public institutions to plan, prepare and deliver infrastructure projects is central to effective infrastructure development.
Increasingly, infrastructure leaders, investors and developers are recognising the need to not only increase the quantity of infrastructure investment globally to drive economic growth, but also the quality of infrastructure investment, to ensure that that growth and development is inclusive and sustainable.