The FINANCIAL — The heads of the leading multilateral development banks (MDBs) meeting at the Global Infrastructure Forum 2018 expressed their condolences following the tragic loss of lives and livelihoods in Sulawesi, Indonesia and reaffirmed their commitment to work together to deliver infrastructure that is resilient, inclusive, and sustainable.
The important role of technology in this goal was at the heart of discussions at the GI Forum under the theme “Unlocking Inclusive, Resilient, and Sustainable Technology-driven Infrastructure”. 2018 marks the first time this annual forum is being held outside of the US. Indonesia’s Vice President Jusuf Kalla opened the discussion.
The MDBs agreed that their joint efforts should be based around the following priorities:
Increase technical assistance and advisory services for knowledge creation and knowledge transfer;
Disseminate knowledge through collaborative events that support the delivery of bankable projects;
Contribute to delivering sustainable infrastructure through the MDB Information Cooperation Platform;
Mobilize sustainable finance at scale;
Support sustainable public procurement;
Identify infrastructure and capacity gaps, particularly in least-developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing states and African countries.
These pledges are included in the MDBs’ Outcome Statement.
The GI Forum gathered private sector investors with representatives from the United Nations and leaders from the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, Islamic Development Bank, New Development Bank, and the World Bank.
The forum comprised two opening sessions. The first looked at how technology, such as solar energy systems, blockchain, and big data, can be used to make infrastructure more sustainable. The second discussed how to increase private infrastructure finance.
Other sessions looked at using technology to achieve the crucial but difficult “last mile” of getting services to end users, good practices in scaling up investments in infrastructure, ways of financing the global infrastructure gap, and maximizing innovative climate finance for sustainable infrastructure.
The infrastructure needs across the world are huge. An estimated 1 billion people have no access to electricity while over 660 million people have no access to clean drinking water. These needs must be met if the global community is to meet commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals. New technologies and approaches such as smart transport systems and innovative climate finance can help to fill the infrastructure gap. They can also help build infrastructure that can withstand climate change and natural disasters.
A joint report by 13 development banks released in June noted that in 2017, MDBs and development finance institutions mobilized $73.3 billion of long-term private and institutional investor cofinancing for infrastructure such as power, water, transportation, and telecoms. This compared with $68.7 billion mobilized in 2016.