A future of inadequate infrastructure is closer than ever

A future of inadequate infrastructure is closer than ever, as a study of 10-year trends shows private investment in new infrastructure has declined steadily since 2010

Private investment in infrastructure through primary market transactions[1] remains low at around US$100 billion per year and has been declining over the past decade according to a new Global Infrastructure Hub (GI Hub) report, Infrastructure Monitor 2020, released today.

Infrastructure Monitor 2020 also reveals that financial performance of infrastructure investments is better than is generally expected and that infrastructure becomes more stable over time whilst other asset classes increase in risk.

In 2017 GI Hub’s Global Infrastructure Outlook found the world was facing a US$15 trillion gap between projected investment and the amount needed to provide adequate global infrastructure by 2040.

GI Hub CEO Marie Lam-Frendo said that the Infrastructure Monitor report findings have significant implications for investors and regulators and are a building block on the road to infrastructure as an asset class.

“Private investment of US$100 billion per year is a drop in the ocean compared to the estimated US$15 trillion global infrastructure financing gap. Whilst mobilising private capital is key, Infrastructure Monitor shows a lack of private sector appetite for new infrastructure investment. Now is the time for industry to explore other options, with true partnership between the public and private sectors, to help close the infrastructure gap. This has become critical as governments around the world face fiscal challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lam-Frendo.

Other key findings from Infrastructure Monitor 2020 include:

  • In 2019, only 25% of private infrastructure transactions occurred in new infrastructure investments, down from 64% in 2010.
  • Private investment in social infrastructure declined the most from US$19 billion in 2010 to US$3 billion in 2019.
  • Social infrastructure has experienced lower default rates than other infrastructure sectors.
  • Total investment in more carbon-intensive and less sustainable energy was greater than investment in renewables in low and middle-income countries.
  • Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa have been fast growing regions for private investment, while Europe has seen the largest decline.

The inaugural global report provides data-driven insights from 2010–19 into priority areas of the G20 agenda on infrastructure.

In addition to the Infrastructure Monitor 2020 report, the Infrastructure Monitor website has the following features for infrastructure professionals:

  • A Data Tool which allows users to explore relationships between infrastructure and development variables to discover how infrastructure investment relates to economic, social and environmental variables. Users can work with the data and create their own charts and graphs (Data Stories) that are shareable on the Monitor website and social media, and can be downloaded for other uses.
  • Monitor Insights which are bite-sized data points with analysis on a variety of topics related to infrastructure investment, G20 infrastructure priority areas and the impact of COVID-19. Released on a regular basis, the Insights provide an ongoing stream of fresh data and analysis.


[1] Primary market transactions (i.e. new security offerings in either greenfield or brownfield infrastructure projects) normally represent an incremental investment in infrastructure and are a more important metric for private capital mobilisation than secondary market transactions.


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