World Bank Singapore Infrastructure Finance Summit 2014

Long-Term Solutions to Finance the Infrastructure Gap

3 June 2014 | InterContinental, Singapore

The financing and implementation of major infrastructure projects in emerging markets is a crucial driver for sustainable economic growth, generating activity not only in the regions being targeted but also globally by boosting long-term demand for investment and expertise. Yet many key initiatives remain stalled due to a lack of funds, with the availability of credit constrained by tough regulatory reforms like Basel III, interest rate uncertainty due to gradual monetary tightening, particularly in the US, and persistent concerns over risk and viability.

According to the World Bank, more than US$1 trillion is needed every year in developing countries alone to finance and maintain infrastructure. A big diplomatic push is under way to try to solve the problem. The G20, under Australia’s presidency, has made boosting infrastructure investment by the private sector a major priority for 2014; global and regional bodies such as APEC and ASEAN are rededicating their focus to public-private partnerships (PPPs) for infrastructure; and the World Bank and regional development banks are establishing new financing and project preparation facilities and new risk instruments.

But much more work needs to be done to create a long-term investment environment robust enough to attract the global capital required. Financing instruments and structures have to be put into place that reduce the cost of funds, lower risk and incentivise borrowers to be involved in a project for at least 10 years. Solutions may go beyond public-private partnership models to also involve capital markets. An even bigger challenge may be ensuring that the infrastructure projects themselves are planned and prioritised correctly by governments so that private sector investors and developers see them as viable opportunities rather than future white elephants.

These issues are being tackled at a time of rapidly increasing urbanisation, particularly in developing economies, where expanding economic activity is causing cities to swell in size and population without the infrastructure required to maintain socio-economic cohesion.

The latest policies and innovative solutions being envisaged to boost long-term infrastructure financing and development will be the focus of the fifth annual World Bank-Singapore Infrastructure Finance Summit.

The Summit – organised by the World Bank, the Singapore Ministry of Finance, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Financial Times, in association with the World Bank-ASEAN Infrastructure Finance Network, and with support from the Australian Government – has become the leading forum for policy-makers, investors, contractors and strategists to share best practice and new ideas on plugging the infrastructure gap.

This year’s event, chaired once again by a senior Financial Times journalist, will feature:

  • an opening address by Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam
  • an on-stage interview with World Bank Chief Financial Officer Bertrand Badre
  • exclusive panels of ministers, mayors and financial sector leaders
  • special discussions involving investors, bankers and infrastructure developers on optimising PPPs and other regulatory and financing structures, as well as the quality of infrastructure projects, to support long-term investment