Malaysia has great record of using ICMs in development
THE figures are mindboggling. The demand endless. One of the pressing challenges facing humanity is infrastructure — the basic physical and organisational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise. The correlation of poor or non-existent infrastructure to poverty, disease, joblessness, environmental issues, such as air and water quality, social ills, such as crime, mental illness, corruption, alienation and radicalisation, is proven.
The World Bank estimates annual global infrastructure investments at around US$2.65 trillion (RM11.5 trillion) to US$3.7 trillion with emerging markets facing an annual infrastructure investment gap of US$452 billion. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that more than US$80 trillion of global infrastructure investments are needed up till 2030.
Economists argue about the suitability of measuring economic and societal progress through the traditional gross domestic product growth indicator. In my experience, improvement in and sustainability of infrastructure including operations and maintenance can also be a useful way of gauging the progress of an economy, albeit dependent on the quality of political, economic and social governance. The United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDG) aspire to attain sustainable, inclusive and high-quality infrastructure by 2030, which “is of cross-cutting importance to increasing economic growth”.
Infrastructure is a challenge to any country, irrespective of wealth and level of development. US President Donald Trump strongly pushed this during his campaigning, pledging to invest US$1 trillion in renewing the country’s crumbling infrastructure. China, with aggregate sovereign wealth funds in excess of US$2.5 trillion, launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in 2014 as a development finance alternative to the World Bank.
The world’s multilateral development agencies last year set up the Global Infrastructure Forum in