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Cynthia Olotch — 10 candid career questions with infrastructure & PPP professionals

Cynthia Olotch's picture



Editor's Note: 
Welcome to the “10 Candid Career Questions” series, introducing you to the infrastructure and PPP professionals who do the deals, analyze the data, and strategize on the next big thing. Each of them followed a different path into infra and/or PPP practice, and this series offers an inside look at their backgrounds, motivations, and choices. Each blogger receives the same 15 questions and answers 10 or more that tell their career story candidly and without jargon. We believe you’ll be as surprised and inspired as we were.  

Helping Brazil realize its infrastructure promise

Paul Procee's picture


Photo: LWYang | Flickr Creative Commons

Since the 1980s, investment in Brazil’s infrastructure has declined from 5% to a little above 2% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), scarcely enough to cover depreciation and far below that of most middle-income countries (see figure below). The result is a substantial infrastructure gap. Over the same period, Brazil has struggled with stagnant productivity growth. The poor status of infrastructure is broadly believed to be a key reason for Brazil’s growth malaise.

Building on success: PPPs in a new era of Canadian infrastructure

Mark Romoff's picture

Also available in françaisلعربية 


Photo: Hubert Figuière | Flickr Creative Commons

Canada has quietly become a leading player in the global PPP space. The unique Canadian version of the procurement model has evolved from an innovative idea promoted through the wisdom and passion of a few early believers and visionaries into a widely applied approach, embraced by all three levels of government and in every region of the country.
 
What might seem an “overnight success” has, in fact, taken 25 years of listening and learning to develop a smart, innovative, modern approach to infrastructure and service delivery using Public-Private Partnerships. It’s an approach that ensures real value for tax dollars and the efficient use of precious public resources.

Pipeline to Work: Including persons with disabilities in skills development and employment projects

Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo's picture
Photo: Dane Macri/The Advocacy Project via Flickr CC
Photo: Dane Macri/The Advocacy Project via Flickr CC.

The relationship between poverty and disability goes both ways: disability increases the risk of poverty, and the conditions of poverty increase the risk of disability.

Yet, little attention has been given to the employment readiness of persons with disabilities. This is of concern given that the employment rates of persons with disabilities are a third to half of the rates for persons without disabilities, with unemployment rates as high as 80%-90% in some countries.

[Learn more: Disability Inclusion]

Disability is a complex, evolving, and multidimensional concept. Currently, it is estimated that 15% of the world population experiences some form of disability, with prevalence rates higher in developing countries. As opportunities for sustainable income generation are directly tied to a person’s access to finance, markets, and networks, persons with disabilities usually face significant challenges in accessing these, due to:

  • non-inclusive regulations and policy,
  • lack of resource allocation,
  • stigma and societal prejudice,
  • low educational participation, and
  • inability to access their own communities and city spaces.
To continue building inclusive cities, research tells us that countries cannot achieve optimal growth by leaving behind a large group of their citizens – persons with disabilities – with economic losses from employment exclusion ranging from 3 to 7 % of the GDP. We also know that when you combine gender and disability, the challenges facing women with disabilities compound. Women with disabilities are more likely to earn less than men with disabilities and they are affected by inaccessible sanitation, smaller social and professional networks, and gender-based violence – see, for example, labor force data from the UK.

We need to do much more to ensure that women with disabilities are mainstreamed into projects that seek to empower women as entrepreneurs and change agents.

Expanding equitable opportunities for persons with disabilities is at the core of the World Bank’s work to build sustainable and inclusive communities. So, what might a disability-responsive moonshot look like for development projects addressing work for persons with disabilities? Here’s what we’re doing at the World Bank:

Back to school? Expanding access to disaster-resilient schools in Turkey for Syrian children and host communities

Johannes Zutt's picture


Today, Turkey hosts more refugees than any other single country—almost 3.3 million. The vast majority are fleeing the civil war in Syria, and almost half are under the age of 18. A devastating consequence of the children’s flight is the disruption of their education, with about one in four Syrian refugee children in Turkey—mostly in urban areas in southeastern and southern provinces—not in school.  Even so, due to tremendous efforts by the government of Turkey, about six in ten school-aged Syrian children now have access to either formal education facilities or temporary education centers in Turkey—a remarkable achievement, given the scale of the need and the rapidity with which it developed.

By the end of 2017, the Government aims to achieve full educational enrollment for all Syrian children.

Approaches to selecting infrastructure financing options

Ferdinand Pecson's picture


Photo: GotCredit| Flickr Creative Commons 

Whether an infrastructure project should be pursued through government funding, official development assistance (ODA), a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), or a hybrid, is a matter of finding the solution that best meets a government’s objective given a set of constraints and the risks presented by each option. 

Why sustainable mobility matters

Hartwig Schafer's picture
Photo: Mariana Gil/WRI
In the 1960s, the vision of future mobility was people with jet packs and flying cars – we believed these innovations wouldn’t be far off after the moon landing in 1969. Obviously, the reality in 2017 is somewhat different.

Today, we have congestion in cities, rural areas cut off from the rest of the world, and too many people without access to safe, efficient, and green transport. This stifles markets and hinders people from the jobs that will help them escape poverty. Without access to sustainable mobility, it will be much harder—if not impossible— to end poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

And perhaps the most tragic reality is this: that approximately 1.3 million people die each year in traffic-related incidents. Young people, those between the ages of 15-29, are the most affected by road crashes. This heartbreaking and preventable loss of life should be a clear signal that road safety matters.

At the same time, how we change transport is vitally important and will impact generations to come.

Five lessons on affordable housing provision from Indonesia

Dao Harrison's picture
When first-time homeowner Dewi moved into her new house in the Yogyakarta area a year ago, thanks to a government subsidy program, she thought: everything is perfect.
 
Well, not quite. Located an hour away from the city center, Dewi’s house is far from employment opportunities, shopping, and schooling for her two children. Two years after completion, more than half the housing development remains unoccupied. Because the house is not connected to the local water system, Dewi buys water twice a week. When seasonal floods are underway, the heavy rains impede access to her house.



Providing affordable and adequate housing has become a top policy priority for the government of Indonesia with the launch of Satu Juta Rumah (One Million Homes) program. Previous efforts to address the demand for affordable housing – a function of both new annual demand creation and an unmet housing deficit – had not effectively improved housing outcomes at the scale necessary.
Source:  Ministry of Public Works and Housing, Indonesia

But should homeownership volume be the sole indicator of a successful housing subsidy program? Is it possible to have a program that meets the government’s needs to be fiscally and economically cost effective, while also responding to the private market as well as the needs of residents?
 
Options are being explored. The recently approved National Affordable Housing Program Project (NAHP), for example, aims to innovate the affordable housing market by addressing bottlenecks and actively engaging the private sector in delivering for unserved segments. So far, Indonesia’s efforts provide valuable lessons. The lessons are:

A decade of PPPs in Latin America and the Caribbean: What have we learned?

Roland Michelitsch's picture

Also available in: EspañolPortuguês


Photo (right): Mr. Amarin Jitnathum / Shutterstock

The Latin America and Caribbean region (LAC) has an infrastructure gap: the region needs to invest at least 5% of GDP to cover its infrastructure needs, but is currently investing only half that. To put it mildly, there is still a lot of room for improvement for both the public and private sectors, and also for multilaterals working in the region.

In a combined effort to reduce infrastructure gaps, Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) have become, again, a popular tool since 2005. LAC was the predominant region for PPPs until the late 1990s, when investments plummeted due in part to a backlash of poorly-implemented PPPs.

Triggered by low commodity prices and rising fiscal deficits, as well as by improvements in PPP readiness, many countries established dedicated agencies and strengthened regulations leading to increases in PPP investments from $8 billion in 2005 to $39 billion in 2015. In total, LAC has seen investments of $361.3 billion in around 1,000 PPP infrastructure projects in just one decade, mostly in energy and transport.

Uma década de PPPs na América Latina e Caribe: O que aprendemos?

Roland Michelitsch's picture

Also available in: Español | English


Foto (direita): Amarin Jitnathum / Shutterstock

A região da América Latina e Caribe (ALC) apresenta uma lacuna em termos de infraestrutura: a região precisa investir no mínimo 5% do PIB para atender suas necessidades neste setor, mas atualmente investe apenas metade desse percentual.  Explicando de uma forma suave, há ainda muito espaço para melhorias por parte do setor público, do setor privado, bem como das organizações multilaterais que trabalham na região.

Em um esforço combinado de reduzir as lacunas de infraestrutura, as Parcerias Público-Privadas voltaram a ser uma ferramenta popular a partir de 2005. A ALC era a região com maior predominância de PPPs até o fim dos 1990s, quando os investimentos despencaram em parte como reação adversas provocadas por PPPs mal implementadas.

Incentivados pelos preços baixos dos produtos primários e déficits fiscais crescentes, assim como pelo aprimoramento da capacidade de preparação de PPPs, muitos países criaram agências específicas e fortaleceram regulamentações que levaram ao aumento de investimentos em PPPs de US$ 8 bilhões em 2005 para US$ 39 bilhões em 2015. No total, em apenas uma década, a ALC teve investimentos de US$ 361,3 bilhões referentes a aproximadamente 1000 PPPs de projetos de infraestrutura, principalmente nos setores de energia e transportes.


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