One year, 20 blogs on COVID-19's impact on infrastructure finance projects

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What can AI tell us about COVID-19?s impact on infrastructure? Makhtar Diop Finance Image depicting the effects of COVID-19 on the market | © m.mphoto, Shutterstock

Like every other aspect of society, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted infrastructure finance and public-private partnerships. These 20 blogs discuss those impacts—from the first blog we published on the topic on March 10, 2020, exploring how the coronavirus will affect PPPs to our most recent one, published exactly a year later, on ways that governments can consider restructuring PPPs due to squeezed public sector budgets.

Restructuring PPPs in the age of Covid-19: Some approaches

Anthony Molle

What should governments consider when rethinking ongoing infrastructure PPP contracts to reduce costs when times get tough? In this post, Anthony Molle from the World Bank explores some potential restructuring solutions that might reduce tariff burdens.


Private sector’s retreat jeopardizes recovery

Makhtar Diop

World Bank data tracking infrastructure projects in developing countries are out for the first half of 2020 and the results are alarming: private sector investment dropped by an unprecedented 56% from the same period in 2019. The retreat jeopardizes recovery and the ability to build back better once COVID-19 is under control. The good news is there are many ways to mitigate increased risk and promote investment if we work together. Three key findings in the World Bank's private sector infrastructure investment trends can help us navigate the terrain.


Brave new world – the impact of COVID-19 on upcoming and ongoing PPP tenders

Helga Van Peer

In a post-pandemic PPP world, we are all like Alice in Wonderland—wondering which way to go from here. So, what should upcoming PPP tenders look like to attract bidders? Pricing and planning a PPP that will run for decades is a tricky exercise. Doing so while trying to factor in the uncertainties of a pandemic and its resulting measures is almost impossible. What is the single most reliable way to predict future behavior? Looking at the present!


Climate finance: Creating the conditions we need to invest in emerging markets

Jameela Pedicini

In the arduous journey to post-COVID-19 economic recovery lies great opportunity to accelerate investments that support the transition to low-carbon economies. A new paper outlines precisely the conditions to produce bankable pipelines of climate-resilient investment opportunities in emerging markets.


What can AI tell us about COVID-19’s impact on infrastructure?

Makhtar Diop

World Bank research using artificial intelligence (AI) to collect data on project delays and cancellations in developing countries reveals that private commitments in infrastructure in developing countries significantly decreased from 2019 levels. Development finance institutions (DFIs)—evolved to cope with risks unique to different moments throughout history—face a test if they can help ensure recent development gains are not lost and among many other responsibilities should help address immediate and long-term infrastructure needs.


How COVID-19 will impact our cities in the long term

Abha Joshi-Ghani

The impact of COVID-19 in cities around the world is still unraveling. This coronavirus pandemic combines health, economic, and social crises pushing millions of people back into poverty. The biggest opportunity for cities from this pandemic is to build back better, focusing on more climate-resilient infrastructure that does more with less. Abha Joshi-Ghani, Senior Adviser, Public-Private Partnerships at the World Bank, explains how national governments need to work with city officials and people to create sound policies that lay the ground for recovering from the aftermath of the pandemic.


Equal access to digital technologies: A key to resilient recovery

Mari Elka Pangestu & Mats Granryd

Especially in COVID-19 times, digital infrastructure is an important and growing piece of the puzzle we contemplate weekly via this blog space. We point you to this blog about the need for equal access to digital technologies, where the private sector has a critical role to play.


Bouncing back is not enough. Let’s bounce forward to infrastructure resilience

Svitalana Orekhova and Guillermo Diaz-Fanas

Tackling the climate and COVID-19 crises have required global cooperation. Similarly, private and public sectors need to come together to rethink how to mobilize capital for resilient and climate-smart infrastructure —especially as we look to stimulate economies.


Another unknown in post-COVID PPPs in Africa: Resumption of foreign direct investment

Maude Vallée

The pandemic has highlighted the need to rethink the way Africa approaches PPPs. One crucial unknown is their ability to attract declining foreign direct investment, requiring them to rely on a mix of domestic private sector players to achieve financing objectives. Expanding that sector’s role as active investors will reduce the foreign exchange challenge for national governments.


Making PPP legal frameworks fit for post-COVID-19

Christina Paul

It’s time to start contemplating and actively designing measures that account for the long-term implications of COVID-19 on PPP programs. Do PPP legal frameworks in particular merit adaptation to enable greater resilience of PPP structures to external shocks? Here are some considerations.


Countries must seize opportunity to build infrastructure sustainably in the wake of COVID-19

Jérôme Jean Haegeli

Jerome Haegeli, Group Chief Economist for Swiss Re and Co-Chair of the Global Infrastructure Facility’s Advisory Council, lays out five key principles that can serve as a blueprint to help countries achieve this important goal when they move into their pandemic recovery stages.


Your COVID-era summer PPP reading list: resiliency, the new world order, and gender make the cut

Luciana Guimaraes Drummond E Silva

Although we don’t know what the “new normal” will look like for so many things, including infrastructure and its financing, we can hold ourselves accountable to look at the sector with a new and more inclusive perspective. Our annual summer reading list can be a guide.


Using government guarantees carefully as the private sector redefines bankability

Jenny Chao and Jason Zhengrong Lu

COVID-19 has placed risk allocation of PPPs under a stress test: risks that seemed reasonable to take mere months ago may no longer be acceptable today. A new World Bank publication sets out guidance for governments on best practices in their use of guarantees for PPPs.


2019 brought private investment in infrastructure to more countries: Is there a message for policymakers amid COVID-19?

Seong Ho Hong and Fatouma Toure Ibrahima

Despite a slight decline that will stretch into 2020, new data from the World Bank’s Private Participation in Infrastructure Database shows private sector infrastructure investments were $96.7 billion in 2019 and points to it as an exceptional year for two reasons.


How the World Bank is looking at COVID-19 and public-private partnerships, right now and post-crisis

Imad N. Fakhoury

We know that healthy cooperation with the private sector will be more important than ever as countries exit the COVID-19 crisis even more fiscally constrained. Our role is very clear: we’re here to help them optimize infrastructure solutions that are sustainable and resilient. We absolutely can create a new type of PPP and an enhanced supporting framework that are informed by what we all will have been through once this is over. Allow me to give a sense of how we’re looking at this in the short through long term.


Rebalancing airport PPPs, even as the COVID-19 winds still blow

Jeff Delmon and Andy Ricover

No sector is worse hit by coronavirus than air transport, at 5–10% of normal levels and likely to continue to suffer. Important to the economic growth and recovery the world so sorely needs, government needs to step in to help carry the burden. What would this look like?


COVID-19 and infrastructure: A very tricky opportunity

Richard Abadie

As governments try to stabilize economies, revenues and GDP are collapsing. Where does that leave infrastructure? COVID-19 forces us to consider pre-crisis challenges that are fundamental to how we tackle infrastructure provision and gives us time to reflect on what’s important: let’s ensure the collective response focuses on what’s good for the planet and its people.


A simple way to close the multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure financing gap

Jason Zhengrong Lu

Once the acute phase of COVID-19 is over, governments will need infrastructure more than ever to accelerate economic recovery, create jobs, reduce poverty, and stimulate productive investment. But they don’t have the resources to fully finance their needs. The Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF) proposes taking 3 percent of the first trillion dollars held by pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, mutual funds, and other institutional investors ($30 billion) and applying it to infrastructure project preparation and development—the main impediments to securing finance from the private sector.


COVID-19 & infrastructure: Why governments must act to protect projects

Herb Ladley

Economic stops are cascading through Western economies as a result of COVID-19. For infrastructure investors, the sudden evaporation of demand is colliding with cost increases or at least cost uncertainty. Once those economic realities become balance sheet realities, this tidal wave will come into view. It risks overwhelming the legal system with contract disputes.


How will coronavirus affect public-private partnerships?

David Baxter

Economic impacts of the coronavirus on PPPs will place a tremendous burden on project stakeholders, users, and public and private sectors for weeks, months or years. A strategic focus on mitigation and recovery is needed with short-, medium- and long-term strategies.




Sunny Kaplan

Communications Specialist, World Bank

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