Location: Jack Morton Auditorium
The importance of addressing infrastructure gaps in developing countries is now conventional wisdom. But what is the state of play today? Has public investment in infrastructure gone up significantly over recent years? What has helped in countries that have successfully scaled up? What are the challenges where infrastructure needs have not been met? How can policies—domestic and international—help?
Join the conversation via #IMFonInfra
Financing Our Future (Adeosun, Kemi, 2016)
Post-2015 Infrastructure Finance: The New Debt Threat? (Caliari, Aldo, 2014)
Unlocking Private Finance for African Infrastructure (Collier, Paul, and Colin Mayer, 2014)
Global Infrastructure Forum 2016 Chairman’s Statement (Global Infrastructure Forum, 2016)
The Return of Public Investment (Rodrik, Dani, 2016)
Namrata Brar, U.S. Bureau Chief, NDTV
Namrata Brar is a longtime reporter with New Delhi Television (NDTV) and is currently their U.S. Bureau Chief based in NYC. Ms. Brar studied business administration and economics and moderated the “Long-term Global Trends and Their Implications for the IMF” seminar during the 2013 Spring Meetings.
Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director, IMF
Mitsuhiro Furusawa has been a Deputy Managing Director with the International Monetary Fund since 2015. Prior to joining the Fund, he was Special Advisor to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Special Advisor to the Minister of Finance. Mr. Furusawa formerly held several senior positions in the Ministry of Finance of Japan including as Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs and Director-General of the Financial Bureau. He holds an LL.B. degree from the University of Tokyo and also graduated from the École Nationale d’Administration in Paris.
Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, Nigeria
Kemi Adeosun has been the Minister of Finance of Nigeria since 2015. Prior, she was the Commissioner of Finance in the state of Ogunand has also held finance related positions with London Underground, Price Waterhouse Coopers, and British Telecom. Ms. Adesoun has a BSc in Economics from the University of East London and a post-graduate diploma from the University of London.
Anders Borg, Chair, World Economic Forums’ Gglobal Finanical System Initiative
Anders Borg is the Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Financial System Initiative and served as Sweden’s Minister of Finance between 2006 and 2014 in the then center-right government. Mr. Borg is a member of the Swedish Moderate party; assists on several corporate boards, and is an adviser to Citigroup. He studied economics and political science and the Uppsala and Stockholm universities.
Aldo Caliari, Director of Rethinking the Bretton Woods Project at the Center of Concern
Aldo Caliari is the Director of the Rethinking Bretton Woods Project at the Center of Concern. He joined the Project in 2000 and has led it since 2002. Mr. Caliari has been a consultant with numerous UN agencies and as well as with national governments and CSOs. He received a Master of International Policy and Practice from George Washington University (2007), with a focus on economics and finance.
Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, Oxford
Paul Collier is Professor of Economic and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. He is also the Director of the International Growth Centre; the Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies, and a fellow of St Antony’s College. Mr. Collier was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in connection with the 2008 Birthday Honors and knighted in the 2014 New Year Honors for promoting research and policy change in Africa.
Jonathan Taylor, Vice President, EIB
Jonathan Taylor is the Vice President and member of the Management Committee of the European Investment Bank. Mr. Taylor oversees operations in Greece, Cyprus, Ireland, the UK, and in Asia. He also leads the Bank’s work on climate action and other environmental lending policies. Prior to his appointment at the EIB, Mr. Taylor was Director General for Financial Services and Stability at the UK Treasury. He is a graduate of the University of Oxford where he studied philosophy, political science and economics.
Contributor: Rasheeda Smith Yee,
The seminar focused on the importance of and progress made in addressing infrastructure gaps in developing countries. Panelists discussed whether there had been any significant increase in public investment in infrastructure in recent years, what has helped in countries that have successfully scaled up, the challenges in meeting infrastructure needs, and the role of policy in filling the infrastructure gap.
- Panelists noted the significant annual requirement of 1.5 trillion in financing to meet basic infrastructure needs in developing countries, which cannot be met solely by governments. Taylor underscored the importance of a framework that allows private investors to accurately assess investments. Borg noted that governance is crucial for long-term investors, such as pension funds. Collier underscored that while some gaps in Africa can be filled through private funding, others will require access to alternative sources, such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). Taylor highlighted the importance of addressing governance issues to de-risk IBRD, and allow access to large scale financing.
- Taylor underscored the need for investment in energy and connectivity to support firms that can specialize and scale up production. Adeosun highlighted the inconsistency in policy that allows advanced economies to continue using coal to produce energy, while requiring developing countries to focus on more expensive green solutions to secure funding. Borg argued that efforts to reduce the carbon footprint should begin with the United States and Europe. Collier added that an ethical approach to closing the coal industry, such as starting with the richest countries, would secure the buy-in of developing countries and legitimize and ensure trust in global institutions.
- Furusawa noted that the Fund plays a key role in assessing the fiscal implications of infrastructure projects and risks/costs related to private-public partnerships. It also plays an important role in advising countries on ways to mobilize domestic resources and promote private investment.
- In concluding, Furusawa highlighted the importance of mobilizing domestic and external resources to meet infrastructure needs, without jeopardizing debt sustainability and macroeconomic stability. Caliari underscored the importance of choosing the right projects. Adeosun highlighted the return potential of infrastructure investment in Africa, particularly given ongoing efforts to address governance issues, and the need for a level playing field. Taylor noted the inefficiencies in publicly run utility companies, and highlighted that they are often a deterrent to private investment. Borg underscored that, based on demographics in the United States and Europe, there are large funds that could benefit from the higher yields in emerging markets, providing both the opportunity to boost emerging market growth and also helping to address those demographic challenges. Collier noted the benefits from investing in Africa, but highlighted that these returns may not be short-term in nature, requiring a long-term focus and effort.
“Yes ... Africa must invest in its infrastructure, but we must also make sure that the playing field is level. The West cannot say, after polluting the atmosphere for 100 years, now that Africa wants to exploit its coal resources, no it’s not green” Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, Nigeria
“Infrastructure is crucial for poverty reduction because you can’t grow agriculture, you can’t grow manufacturing, and you can’t manage an organization without infrastructure” Anders Borg, Chair, World Economic Forum’s Global Financial System Initiative
“It (pollution) may be something some countries may have to do..., but are they polluting to develop, or are they just polluting to create further resources?” Aldo Caliari, Director, Rethinking Bretton Woods Project at the Center of Concern
“Africa really needs global institutions and it shouldn’t have to fight them, they should be consistently on Africa’s side” Paul Collier, Professor, Economic and Public Policy, University of Oxford
“Africa’s route out of poverty...is about performing the miracle of productivity, ordinary people have to become radically more productive” Jonathan Taylor, Vice President, European Investment Bank