Remarks by Angel Gurría
Buenos Aires, Argentina - 19 March 2018
(as prepared for delivery)
Ministers, Central Bank Governors,
I would like to start by congratulating the Argentinian Presidency for developing the Roadmap to Infrastructure as an Asset Class. The OECD strongly supports its proposed areas of focus, which recognise previous G20 work and OECD contributions. This is a major step in the right direction for infrastructure investment, and particularly in infrastructures that support sustainable growth.
According to the McKinsey Global Institute’s much quoted research, the world currently invests only USD 2.5 trillion annually in infrastructure in general. However, we need to invest at least USD 3.3 trillion per year just to support current economic growth expectations and almost twice as much to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The term “infrastructure as an asset class”, which could mean different things to different people, is becoming an umbrella-term where several key policy initiatives are coming together, all with the purpose of promoting bankable projects, including through further standardisation (of contracts, processes, documentation), to foster a more favourable investment environment and greater private sector participation in infrastructure.
In order to support these efforts, the OECD, along with the World Bank, has completed a draft Stocktake of Tools and Instruments Related to Infrastructure as an Asset Class. This stocktake will help us evaluate how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go in this area. The stocktake identifies numerous gaps for further consideration by the G20 and other fora; including implementation of existing instruments, standardisation, and also the need for new guidance for instance on the treatment of new technologies such as blockchain.
Another key area that touches on many parts of this discussion is the provision of data on infrastructure finance and investment. The OECD is the Secretariat of a new steering group of major MDBs, the GIH, IOs and the private sector supporting the Infrastructure Data Initiative, whose goal is to identify data gaps that hinder investment and create standardisation in how data is collected, reported and aggregated. The ultimate aim of this work is to improve performance reporting, benchmarking, and analysis of infrastructure projects.
The issue of quality investment in infrastructure is another fundamental aspect of the infrastructure agenda. It brings together many aspects – economic, social, and environmental – to make sure that future investment is efficient and sustainable. It will be a central part of a new huge OECD project on sustainable infrastructure that will bring together 19 OECD directorates and agencies.
I am proud that the OECD is able to contribute so much to the G20 on infrastructure and encourage you, Ministers and Central Bank Governors, to endorse the Roadmap to Infrastructure as an Asset Class. Thank you.