G20 central governments are investing heavily in the transport sector, particularly roads. The transport sector was allocated 42% of G20 governments’ total investment in infrastructure in 2022. This is more than double the second most popular sector (social infrastructure, at 17%) and around 2.5 times more than was invested in the energy, communications, and water and waste sectors combined.
The dominance of the transport sector is evident in both advanced G20 economies and emerging G20 economies. Transport received the highest share of central government infrastructure investment in both groups.
The subsectors that attracted the most infrastructure investment were both transport subsectors. The roads subsector was allocated 20% of total G20 central government investment in infrastructure, and the rail subsector was allocated 11%. The third most popular subsector was healthcare and wellness infrastructure (5%).
While governments tend to focus investment on the transport sector, the public and private sectors do have different sector foci within infrastructure.
Most notably, private sector investment is heavily focused on the renewable energy sector, particularly wind and solar projects. According to the GI Hub’s Infrastructure Monitor 2022, renewable energy attracts the largest share of private investment in infrastructure projects, accounting for almost half (48%) of all investment in 2021. Furthermore, these private investment figures reflect only project-based investment and do not cover most corporate private investment financed by balance sheets. The dominance of the private sector in renewables investment would be even higher taking the latter investments into account, as project-based investment only accounts for around 30% of total private investment in renewables.
Comparison of InfraTracker data with private investment figures in Infrastructure Monitor also indicate that, in general, governments are the driver of investment in all infrastructure sectors except for energy. However, this is not always the case. In England and Wales, for example, all water and sewerage services are provided by privately-owned companies.
It should also be highlighted that InfraTracker public investment figures do not include: investments made directly by subnational levels of government or state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and investments by non-G20 economies. And in many countries, subnational governments make up a large portion of infrastructure investment. For example, in the OECD economies, subnational governments are responsible for 57% of public investment. Nevertheless, InfraTracker figures present a reasonable proxy for global public investment in infrastructure.
What is clear from both the InfraTracker and Infrastructure Monitor data is the need for coordination of public and private spending toward infrastructure that will drive the outcomes needed for sustainable development. Regardless of who is investing in infrastructure – the public or private sectors – global investment needs are large, and public-private collaboration is the best way to ensure that they are met.
Notes: Figure reflects planned direct central government investment in infrastructure as well as central government transfers to other levels of governments for infrastructure investment. It does not capture investment directly planned by subnational levels of government or other public entities, such as state-owned enterprises. Infrastructure (general) refers to investment earmarked for infrastructure, but for which further details were not readily available in budget documents.