IS ENOUGH BEING DONE TO ENSURE SUCCESSFUL DELIVERY OF INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS?
The InfraCompass Report analysed 49 countries on their performance with regards to 6 Key Drivers Of Successful Planning And Delivery Of Infrastructure Projects. The countries analysed account for just over 90% of global GDP and slightly less than 75% of global population. Approximately two-thirds of the countries are classified by the World Bank as ‘high income’ (also referred to as ‘developed’), with the balance classified as either middle or lower income (collectively, ‘emerging’).
The report found that emerging economies are catching up with developed countries in terms of the quality of their infrastructure, with the list of top improvers over the past decade dominated by emerging countries. Central to this strong performance is that many emerging countries have seen rapid policy development, including:
• better governance through lowering corruption levels and enhancing the rule of law
• improved regulatory quality
• simplifying permit procedures and land administration.
Across economies, there are few stronger drivers of investment than the rule of law. Upstream enabling environment reforms are key to unlocking quality infrastructure environment in over 20 of the countries analysed.
Permits, land acquisitions and environmental approvals
Permits, land acquisitions and environmental approvals policies vary considerably across economies, suggesting there is an opportunity to look for best practice amongst peers. While several emerging and developed countries have very efficient management practices in these areas, some countries struggle to implement these processes efficiently. This has a direct impact on the timely and cost-effective delivery of infrastructure.
Regulatory and competition frameworks
With fewer restrictions on investment and capital flows, and more consistent and predictable sector regulation that incentivises competition, investment and innovation, needed to fuel global growth.
The ability to see infrastructure projects through to delivery emerges as the area most in need of improvement across most of economies, with opportunities in emerging markets. Most of developed countries perform better in this element – not surprising, given that their technical capabilities have been built up over many years. Developed nations with strong track records of delivery and trusted institutions remain the leaders in the delivery and operation of infrastructure assets.
Lower risk perceptions and better historic data lead to more informed decision making by governments and investors. Even so, many infrastructure projects still fail in advanced countries, highlighting the challenges for emerging economies as they look to deliver infrastructure more effectively.
Planning, procurement and approvals
In addition to effective planning, procurement and approvals processes, the capability and talent of those following the process – and their leadership, especially when things don’t go to plan – are key determining factors in attracting investment and establishing a track record of delivery.
Transparent, consultative strategic plans, backed up by a pipeline of projects, and followed through into investment by governments with bipartisan support, differentiate a few top performers from the rest. Emerging markets have improved their public planning processes over recent years with the publication of integrated sector plans and signals to market on investment priorities.
More than half the countries analysed have consistent and equitable procurement interfaces with the private sector. However, countries could reduce their transaction costs and improve deal flow through more consistent, standardised information and tendering processes leading up to procurement.