Modern conveyor belt for pedestrians

Le retour des investissements publics

CAMBRIDGE – L'idée que les investissements publics dans les infrastructures (routes, barrages, centrales électriques, etc.), sont un moteur indispensable de croissance économique a toujours fortement influencé les décideurs des pays pauvres. Elle était également à l'œuvre dans les premiers programmes d'aide au développement qui ont fait suite à la Seconde Mondiale, lorsque la Banque mondiale et les donateurs bilatéraux ont canalisé des ressources vers les pays nouvellement indépendants pour financer des projets à grande échelle. C'est cette même idée qui motive la nouvelle Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) dirigée par la Chine, qui entend réduire un écart d'infrastructure de la région de 8 mille milliards de dollars.

Mais ce genre de modèle de croissance fondé sur les investissements publics (souvent appelé par dérision « fondamentalisme du capital »), a longtemps été à la mode parmi les experts du développement. Depuis les années 1970, les économistes ont conseillé aux décideurs de minimiser l'importance du secteur public, du capital physique et des infrastructures, pour mieux donner la priorité aux marchés privés, au capital humain (compétences et formation), ainsi qu'aux réformes en matière de gouvernance et d'institutions. De toute évidence, cela a eu pour effet de transformer en gros les stratégies de développement.

L'heure est peut-être venue de revoir ce changement. Si l'on examine les pays qui, malgré le renforcement des vents contraires de l'économie mondiale bénéficient toujours d'une croissance très rapide, on s'aperçoit qu'une grande partie de cette réussite peut être mise au crédit des investissements publics.

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