Global Agenda Council on Infrastructure 2012-2014


The challenge

Infrastructure projects – including ports, pipelines, hospitals, highways, and water, sewage and phone systems – provide the bedrock of national prosperity and well-being. They facilitate transport, promote communication, provide energy and water, boost the health and education of the workforce and enable the whole economy to flourish. The costs of building infrastructure are vast, but the costs of failing to make such investments are incalculable. Improved infrastructure produces abundant benefits for the economy, environment and social progress. However, many countries, developing and developed, are facing significant infrastructure deficits, owing to growing populations, urbanization, changing demands and ageing assets. The strong demand for infrastructure and its insufficient provision imply a global investment gap of about US$ 1 trillion yearly through 2020. The development of environmentally clean infrastructure would raise this estimate by an additional US$ 200-300 million yearly.

What the Council is doing about it

The Global Agenda Council on Infrastructure has identified three main questions that need to be addressed to bridge the supply and demand gap in infrastructure in the world today:

    1. Infrastructure financing: What should the public sector do to facilitate the flow of private capital to infrastructure?
    2. Infrastructure funding: What needs to be done to bridge the gap between the cost of infrastructure services and the budgetary resources available to deliver them?
    3. Infrastructure delivery, operation and management: How can infrastructure be built more efficiently and existing resources be better used?

        Since its inaugural meeting in November 2012, the Council has focused on infrastructure financing and infrastructure delivery, operation and management. The Council played a critical role in shaping the agenda for the “Private High-level Roundtable on Global Infrastructure Financing” at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013. The Council collaborated with the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation on drafting a background paper and led key discussions, including on new sources of capital for infrastructure, the constraints facing private-sector infrastructure investors, and levers to address the constraints.

        The strong demand for infrastructure and its insufficient provision imply a global investment gap of about US$ 1 trillion yearly through 2020.

        On infrastructure operation and management, the Council helped provide the core ideas and set the direction on the issue for the Forum’s Strategic Infrastructure Initiative. The Council will be part of the steering committee of this initiative and will continue to serve as a think tank and supporter. Over the next year, the Council will continue to play the role of thought leader in the Forum’s infrastructure-related work through sessions and initiatives, especially in the three areas identified by the Council. 

        To get involved please contact

        Research Analyst: Jonathon Cini, Associate, Global Agenda Councils, 
        Council Manager: Marie Lam Frendo, Associate Director, Head of Infrastructure initiatives,
        Forum Lead: Alex Wong, Senior Director, Head of Basic & Infrastructure Industries,