With a USD3.7 trillion global infrastructure investment need that continues to widen, and government debt levels substantially higher than they were after the global financial crisis, recent infrastructure bond issuances offer valuable lessons.
As countries announce major infrastructure packages to stimulate their post-pandemic recovery, the sector faces two substantial and related challenges: climate change and a funding shortfall, writes Marie Lam-Frendo, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Infrastructure Hub.
Infrastructure projects are capital-intensive and emerging countries often rely on private investment to implement them. As projects generate revenues in local currency (usually escalated by local inflation), the mismatch between the revenues and the debt service in foreign currency represents a major risk. Without a reliable mechanism to properly mitigate the foreign exchange (FX) risk, relevant sources of potentially long-term and less expensive funding are not accessible. A deep assessment of the FX risk and the development of innovative mitigatory solutions is critical to amplify the offer of long-term credit facilities for infrastructure financing.
Institutional investors are facing growing calls for a stronger engagement in development, in particular for infrastructure, climate and social investments. The investment requirements for global sustainable development are huge. State budgets are already stretched in most emerging markets and developing countries (EMDE), with tax bases weakened and public debt piling up.
With signs of increasing international cooperation on climate change, including the Biden Administration’s commitment to halve America’s net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030, we may finally see new levels of momentum for transnational or cross-border renewable energy projects, which the United Nations has cited as required for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy.
The US Senate has passed the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the ‘historic’ bill promises vital investment in areas from roads, bridges and trains to broadband access and clean drinking water.
In 2018, the City of Nice in southern France signed a 25 year contract with IDEX to design, finance, realise, operate, and maintain a heating and cooling network as well as to implement a smart grid for energy efficiency. IDEX is implementing this project in the 500,000m2 Nice Meridia district, which is home to office space, retail, leisure, housing, schools, and a hospital.
In March 2021, the Global Infrastructure Hub (GI Hub) and Infrastructure Australia hosted the inaugural International Forum of Infrastructure Bodies (I-Bodies). The golden thread running throughout the forum was the pivotal role I-Bodies play in either strategic planning for infrastructure or funding and financing infrastructure in their jurisdictions.
In this blog, Svetlana and Roberto discuss the major cross-border projects currently being planned and delivered with Russia’s involvement, and the importance of comprehensive quality assessment in delivering these projects. Their discussion practically illustrates several elements of successful cross-border project delivery that are detailed in the GI Hub’s cross-border reference guide, Connectivity Across Border.
The urgent need for resilient infrastructure is widely acknowledged as pressure mounts on governments around the world to drive a post-pandemic recovery that embodies the promise of ‘building back better.’ Today, we look at what the pandemic has shown us about resilience in infrastructure and what resilient infrastructure might look like in the future.
The Global Infrastructure Hub (GI Hub) strives to be an organisation where the different backgrounds and perspectives of our people contribute to diversity of thought and approach, enabling us to better live our values and achieve our mission. This diversity includes gender diversity with an awareness of our particular ability to bring attention to the need for gender equality and inclusion in infrastructure.
What role should an Infrastructure Commission play in Northern Ireland? Could it help build a pathway to net zero? And what signal would it give to the private sector? GI Hub speaks to Kirsty McManus and Richard Johnson of Northern Ireland's Ministerial Advisory Panel on Infrastructure for answers on these questions and more.
Transparency International Australia is launching a new project to identify the loopholes that enable corruption to thrive in the infrastructure sector in the Asia-Pacific region.
The first step in this project is the development and testing of a new tool, to help understand corruption risks in transnational infrastructure projects in the Asia-Pacific region. The Infrastructure Corruption Risk Assessment Tool will help its users identify, assess and address corruption risks in the process of approving infrastructure projects.
The global demand for infrastructure, and many governments’ eagerness to facilitate large volumes of infrastructure spending, means this tool comes at a critical time. Many countries, including the UK, Australia and France, as well as countries in the Asia-Pacific, have responded to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic with commitments to boost infrastructure spending. While this increased funding is welcome, it comes with an increased risk of corruption.
Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) countries have a large, and increasing, infrastructure quantitative, qualitative and efficiency gap. The lack of sufficient physical assets, inadequate maintenance and poor service provision negatively impacts the quality of life of its population and the competitiveness of its economies.
Over the last three decades public investment remains low at less than 2% of GDP, half of what East Asia invests in infrastructure per year. During the COVID-19 economic crisis, although the need for increasing public investment has grown this hasn’t translated into reality. Historically public investment will not increase because the region is characterized by a bias against infrastructure assets in favor of current expenditures during economic crises. Additionally, investment in infrastructure in LAC is perceived as a risky proposition in times of fiscal imbalances and debt growth. The average fiscal package to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 was 8.5% of GDP and deficits increased by an average of 5.3% of GDP in 2020, propelling the public debt from 58% of GDP in 2019 to 72% in 2020 and it could continue to rise to 76% in 2023. Preliminary estimates confirm that governments in LAC invested less than 1.5% of GDP in infrastructure in 2020, not a promising scenario for a major shift in public investment to close the regional infrastructure gap.