Global economies face an $18 trillion shortfall in spending on infrastructure needed to cope with economic and demographic changes in the next 20 years, a new report warns.
By 2040, global GDP is predicted to almost double from 2015 levels, with fast population growth concentrated in cities. The global population will increase by almost two billion people, an increase of 25% in the next two decades, but growth will not be evenly spread as urban migration gathers pace.
This will drive a renewed focus on long-term planning to reduce congestion and strain on existing networks, but according to analysis of 50 countries in Global Infrastructure Outlook, a massive increase in planned investment is needed to match infrastructure to the needs of growing populations.
Total infrastructure spending up to 2040 needs to rise more than 20% to $97 trillion to close a growing infrastructure gap, experts warn.
These infrastructure requirements suggest potential for massive future increases in demand for finance as global growth exposes weaknesses in infrastructure spending across continents.
Chris Heathcote, chief executive officer at Global Infrastructure Hub, said: “Quantifying country-level needs is a powerful and positive step. These insights will help governments identify and respond to infrastructure needs, and guide opportunities for private sector investors.”
This is not just a major challenge for emerging countries that need to create new infrastructure, but also for advanced countries that have ageing systems that have to be replaced
More than half of global infrastructure investment needs are in Asia. Three of the five countries with the greatest infrastructure need are in the continent - China, India and Japan, which account for 39% of global infrastructure investment needs.
China alone is expected to need $28 trillion in infrastructure investment, which is more than half of Asia’s total needs and 30% of global needs.
However, it is largely forecast to meet its infrastructure investment requirements along with Japan, Singapore and South Korea.
Those that have a proportionally larger gap include Bangladesh ($192 billion), India ($526 billion), Pakistan ($124 billion) and Turkey ($405 billion).
The Americas and Africa are forecast to have the largest infrastructure gaps, at 32% and 28% of their needs respectively.
Overall, the US has the largest infrastructure investment gap, forecasted to be $3.8 trillion by 2040, 31% of its investment needs.
The majority of the global infrastructure investment gap is in the road and electricity sectors. Outlook estimates investment in roads needs to rise by $8 trillion, while planned investment in the electricity sector will need to increase by $2.9 trillion, mainly in developing and emerging countries.
The Global Infrastructure Hub was launched in 2014 with a G20 mandate to increase the flow and the quality of opportunities for public and private infrastructure investment and aims to be a leading reference on infrastructure to enhance the market’s ability to finance, build and secure the best returns from infrastructure projects.