Chapter six | Infrastructure

Transformation Through Innovation

Infrastructure is a foundation for economic growth. Robust, efficient power grids, water and sewer systems, transportation systems and communications networks are essential to modern economies and societies. They shape our economies in profound ways, determining whether people drive, walk, cycle or ride public transit, whether we remain dependent on fossil-fuelled power or move towards renewables, and whether heavy downpours cause devastating floods or landslides, or storm water is efficiently channelled out to sea.[1]


Emerging and developing economies face high demand for new infrastructure to support growing populations, increased consumption and new industry, and many also have major maintenance backlogs on existing infrastructure systems. Even in developed economies, much infrastructure is outdated and sometimes decaying due to chronic underinvestment.[1] As Better Growth, Better Climate shows, around US$90 trillion in infrastructure investment is needed by 2030 to achieve global growth expectations.[1] That is equivalent to around US$6 trillion per year, but current annual global investment is estimated at only around US$1.7 trillion. About 60% of the investment needed is in emerging and developing countries.

Next Chapter: Innovation