Infrastructure is a key element in managing Asia’s rapid urbanization, and in strengthening value chains. Therefore, infrastructure governance is fundamental. Asian countries tend to have a leading role in coordinating private sector investments and participation; however, even with the current economic and technological advances in the region, there are some persisting gaps that need to be addressed.
In light of these gaps, the World Bank, Korea Overseas Infrastructure & Urban Development Corporation (KIND), and Korean Eximbank hosted the Third Global Round-table on Infrastructure Governance and Tools: Building the Foundation for Sustainable Development. The round-table took place in Seoul, South Korea between May 23 and 24, 2019, and was sponsored by the ADB (Asian Development Bank), Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF), Global Infrastructure Hub (GIH), KDI School, Open Contracting Partnership (OCP), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and Public-Private Infrastructure (PPIAF).
A Call to Action
The event united experts, high-level-decision makers, and practitioners from all over the world, with the objective of building bridges that can help overcome the current gaps faced by the infrastructure sector. As stated in the conference, on the one hand there is a surplus of institutional finance seeking investments, with substantial attention paid to government bonds, and a growing interest in infrastructure assets investment. On the other hand, global infrastructure expenditures, as a share of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), will have to grow 0.7% to meet global development needs in a sustainable way.
Among other critical topics, the roundtable put an emphasis on the critical role of governance in scaling up sustainable infrastructure, the role of technology in achieving sustainable infrastructure, the role of the Multilateral Development Banks in catalyzing private finance, and the role of climate finance to mobilize support for sustainable infrastructure.
Improving Infrastructure Governance
During the first day, panelists shared some of the lessons they have learned, and discussed topics such as delivery of bankable infrastructure projects, transparency and integrity, technology as a tool to improve infrastructure governance, fiscal risk management, and infrastructure regulations. The second day of the event allowed participants to interact with panelists through a firsthand informal exchange, and allowed them to join the session that best matched their interests. Each session consisted of different case studies that provided insights into the experiences of other countries and organizations. Topics ranged from innovative models for last minute infrastructure, to cross border cooperation in Cambodia, and Improving Infrastructure Governance in Vietnam – and many others, involving participants in a productive exchange of knowledge and experience. The event also shared with attendees nine tools that address infrastructure practitioners’ concerns, and provided them with expert insights into good infrastructure governance; a fundamental aspect of sustainable, efficient and profitable infrastructure projects (for more information on the tools, please visit https://ppp-certification.com/events/global-roundtables-infrastructure-governance-tools).
KDI School Students Learn about Infrastructure Governance and Tools
KDI School provides students with unique and enriching experiences that will shape their future professional life. On this occasion, twenty students enrolled in master’s degree programs had the opportunity to attend the round-table, sharing the experiences of their countries and exchanging ideas with experts.
Tony Duarte, a MPP student who had the opportunity of hearing the experts talk about the successful experiences of his home country, Timor-Leste, shared: “These are the things that my country really needs. Best practices to fight corruption and help finance infrastructure at best value for money. These are some of the best experiences that school can provide us. It helps us get exposed to developmental issues, exchange ideas with highly influential practitioners, and learn valuable lessons.’’
Also, a MPM student from Sudan, Gafer Alddaw Alhilo, who was actively involved in the discussions, shared his opinion: “This is a very good opportunity for us to get engaged with people who are in a high rank of policy decision making, worldwide, not only for a single or local meaning. They are real qualified, experienced policy- making speakers.”
By Gabriela Michelle Lemus ORELLANA (2018 MPM, El Salvador)