Global demand for infrastructure projects will near the $10 trillion mark by 2015, but the money to pay for it is unlikely to meet even half that need, a new study reports.
|Quebec’s Plan Nord, which will develop the province’s northern territory over 25 years, is the largest infrastructure project on the global agenda.|
Investment in the United States is actually declining, while urban transit and water projects everywhere will take a disproportionate hit on available investment, according to The Global Infrastructure Marketplace: The World in 2015, a new report by CG/LA Infrastructure, to be released later this month at the consultancy’s 5th annual Global Leadership Forum in London.
‘We are Sleeping’
“The critical fact is that we are not acting; instead, we are sleeping at a time of maximum danger and significant opportunity,” said CG/LA Infrastructure President and CEO Norman F. Anderson.
“The world needs to invest—and this is not just an obligation to the next generation, but a way to ensure growth now, and what might be even more important, to widen the creation of opportunities in economies around the world.
“Policymakers seem exhausted after three years of crisis, but this is when they need to be most active, most creative, and most resourceful.”
The report highlights the role that roads, bridges, mass transit, ports and other infrastructure play in generating growth and opportunity. It details infrastructure demand and spending in 80 countries over the past 20 years and projects the rate of investment through 2015 under three different GDP growth scenarios.
Key findings include:
• Infrastructure clusters are emerging in many countries, including China (set to be the world’s largest infrastructure market), Brazil, Canada and Australia. India and Russia are falling behind the other so-called BRIC countries.
• Key sectors lag. Electricity and highways will account for 65 percent of investments in infrastructure, while water distribution and wastewater treatment will receive less than 9 percent. Urban mass transit will also lag significantly.
• Investment in U.S. infrastructure is declining. Currently, investments in U.S. projects make up 11 percent of the global infrastructure market, but that funding is declining even as other economic indicators improve.
• Africa is an emerging infrastructure hot spot. South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and other countries are preparing for significant infrastructure investments. Investors see Africa as where “Latin America was 20 years ago.”
‘Lack of Public Imagination’
More than $700 billion in projects are to be presented at the forum. The largest single project is Canada’s Plan Nord, a 25-year, $80 billion initiative announced in 2008 to develop Quebec’s 465,000-square-mile boreal region, which makes up the northern two-thirds of the province.
The plan envisions $47 billion in private and public investment for renewable energy and $33 billion for mining and infrastructure.
On the whole, however, said Anderson, “What you see is not simply lower than required investment, but an overall lack of public imagination in terms of long-term infrastructure investment priorities. This issue is most significant in emerging markets—and it is not sustainable.”