Innovative Financing for Infrastructure in Low Income Countries
How Might the G20 Help? - Working Paper #258
Among the outcomes of the Group of 20 (G20) Seoul Summit in November 2010 was an enhanced focus on development, especially infrastructure in low-income countries (LICs). The comprehensive work program that emerged included the establishment of a High-Level Panel for Infrastructure Investment to report to the forthcoming summit in France. Many of the actions for infrastructure development will take time to bear fruit. The aims of this think-piece are to propose some ways of responding to the G20’s initiative. One such response could comprise mobilizing innovative financing that uses the large and growing savings surpluses of some countries, often held in sovereign wealth funds (SWFs); providing those resources to LICs on appropriately concessional terms; using those resources to encourage private investments; and beginning to use the monies quickly while measures to scale up their use are taken. This document is more of a think-piece than a blueprint, and as such does not address all details of design and implementation. It does, however, pay particular attention to the region of Sub-Saharan Africa, where most LICs are and where LICs generally have worse infrastructure than LICs elsewhere. Overcoming infrastructure shortfalls is expected to have a large impact on the region’s economic growth, with significant implications for employment and poverty.
About the Author
Senior Policy Fellow
Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD)
Akbar Noman is Senior Fellow at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. His other academic appointments include Oxford University, and the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. Dr. Noman has spent over 25 years at the World Bank, where he held a variety of assignments. His regional foci included Africa, Asia and the transition economies in Europe and Central Asia. He has served as Economic Adviser to Pakistan’s Ministry of Finance and on the Prime Minister’s Committee on Economic Policy. He has also worked for the ILO’s Asian Regional Team for Employment Promotion based in Bangkok and as a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University.