World Bank advises low-income countries on infrastructure investment

World Bank
World Bank

By Folasade Akpan

The World Bank says low and middle-income countries need to invest in more resilient infrastructure to reap a net benefit on average of 4.2 trillion dollars.

It said this in a new report from the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) released in Washington D.C. on Thursday.

The report also said that the countries would earn four dollars in benefit for each one dollar invested in infrastructure.

The report is titled; “Lifelines: The Resilient Infrastructure Opportunity” and it lays out a framework for understanding infrastructure resilience.

Infrastructure resilient is the ability of infrastructure systems to function and meet users’ needs during and after a natural hazard.

The report examined four essential infrastructure systems; power, water and sanitation, transport and telecommunications.

It said that making these infrastructure more resilient was critical, not only to avoid costly repairs but also to minimize the wide-ranging consequences of natural disasters for the livelihoods and well-being of people.

“Outages or disruptions to power, water, communication and transport affect the productivity of firms, the incomes and jobs they provide.

“It also directly impacts people’s quality of life, making it impossible for children to go to school or study and contributing to the spread of water-borne diseases like cholera.”

It also said that making them more resilient and better able to deliver the services people and firms need during and after natural shocks was critical.

“In low and middle-income countries, designs for more resilient assets in the power, water and sanitation and transport sectors would cost between 11 billion and 65 billion dollars a year by 2030, an incremental cost of around three per cent compared with overall investment needs.”

The report also identified good infrastructure management as the necessary basis for resilient infrastructure, adding that targeted actions were also needed.

It, however, came up with some recommendation for countries to get the basics right through proper planning, operation and maintenance of their assets, which could both increase resilience and save costs.

It added that to address the issues, countries should define institutional mandates and strategies for infrastructure resilience and introduce resilience in the regulations and incentive systems of infrastructure sectors, users and supply chains.

They should also improve decision making through data, tools and skills and provide appropriate financing, especially for risk-informed master plans, asset design and preparedness.

“Actions on these issues can be highly cost-effective and transformational, but they can nevertheless be challenging to fund in many poor countries, making them priorities for support from the international community,” it said.

Mr David Malpass, World Bank Group President, said resilient infrastructure was not about roads or bridges or power plants alone.

He said, rather, it was about the people, the households and the communities for whom the quality infrastructure was a lifeline to better health, better education and better livelihoods.

“Investing in resilient infrastructure is about unlocking economic opportunities for people. This report offers a pathway for countries to follow for a safer, more secure, inclusive and prosperous future for all.” (NAN)

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