WASHINGTON, DC – Consider a simple statistic. Every month in the developing world, more than five million people migrate to urban areas, where jobs, schools, and opportunities of all kinds are often easier to find. But when people migrate, the need for basic services – water, power, and transport – goes with them, highlighting the boom in infrastructure demand.
The reality is evident from Kenya to Kiribati – everywhere where rapid urbanization, the need to support trade and entrepreneurship, and efforts to confront the challenges of climate change have exposed a wide infrastructure deficit. And it is a deficit that confronts advanced economies as well.
Simply put, infrastructure construction and modernization worldwide needs to be part of a strategy for long-term global growth. That is why G-20 finance ministers, meeting recently for the first time this year in Sydney, Australia, singled out investment in infrastructure as one of the elements vital to ensuring a strong, sustainable, and balanced recovery.
But, with G-20 finance ministers preparing to meet again in Washington, DC, next month, a note of caution is in order: Simply increasing infrastructure investment is not enough to foster growth and job creation.