The Global Infrastructure Facility: Closing the infrastructure gap by building country capacity

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Photo: paulisson miura | Flickr Creative Commons

It is well-established that the lack of infrastructure is one of the main problems facing developing countries. Good infrastructure is one of the most important drivers for development and competitiveness. The question that follows is straightforward: how can we mobilize private financing for high-quality infrastructure investment in these countries?
This is a topic of discussion in almost every seminar and event about development. Usually, the issue is left for resolution by the decision makers of developing countries. Despite the attention, however, discussion of inadequate infrastructure continues, with few good solutions reached.

I have observed that the problem of attracting private financing for infrastructure projects occupies a great deal of time. No doubt this is a big problem for developing countries, but there is another factor which, if not considered, can make the availability of funds irrelevant. This is the capacity at the country level to conduct long-term planning and to properly structure infrastructure projects. Many countries do not pay enough attention to addressing these capacity limitations , and consequently, their attempts to accelerate infrastructure investment frequently lead to poor results.

The need to plan and prepare good projects before making the decision to invest in infrastructure may seem obvious, but frequently is not carried out appropriately.

In my view, this happens partly because the time required for the planning, project structuring and execution phases of most infrastructure projects often exceeds a single political mandate. As politicians are the decision-makers for infrastructure investment, many do not see any benefit to beginning projects that will probably not be completed within their own political cycles.

Finding ways to break this vicious cycle is an invaluable contribution provided by the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF). By supporting the efforts of developing country governments with planning and project structuring, the GIF is making it possible to implement important infrastructure projects while also building the necessary in-country capacity to develop this work in the future. This is one way the GIF’s contribution is helping to close the infrastructure gap.  

On a final note, I am happy to have had the opportunity to participate on the GIF’s Governing Council over the last year as the representative of Brazil, one of three developing country Beneficiary Partners of the GIF. I recognize the great value of the GIF in making infrastructure investment in developing countries more attractive to the private sector and look forward to its continued success.

We look forward to hear from you: Flagging a new World Bank Group consultation on the Guidelines for the Development of a Policy for Managing Unsolicited Proposals in Infrastructure Projects. Submit your feedback here - Now open through May 7, 2017.


Henrique Pinto

Secretary of Public Policy Coordination, Investment Partnerships Program, Presidency of the Republic of Brazil

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