Building resilient infrastructures is key to unlocking the economic potentials of developing countries. No country can thrive without infrastructures that can directly transform households, communities with better health, access to education, power, transportation etc. According to the President of the World Bank Group, David Malpass, “Resilient infrastructure is not about roads or bridges or powerplants alone. It is about the people, the households and the communities for whom this quality infrastructure is a lifeline to better health, better education and better livelihoods. Investing in resilient infrastructure is about unlocking economic opportunities for people”
While more attention has been paid in recent times, to developing better infrastructure, disruptions are becoming a everyday concern, reducing opportunities for employment, hampering health and education, and limiting economic growth.
In low and middle-income countries, direct damages from natural hazards to power generation and transport alone cost $18 billion a year, cutting into the already scarce budget of road agencies and power utilities. But the main impact of natural shocks on infrastructure is through the disruptions they impose on people and communities, for instance, businesses unable to keep factories running or use the internet to take orders and process payments; or on the households that don’t have the water they need to prepare meals or on people unable to go to work, send children to school, or get to a hospital.
Along with poor maintenance and mismanagement, natural hazards are one of the main causes of the disruptions that costs households and firms at least $390 billion a year in low- and middle-income countries. And this is a conservative estimate that does not factor in the indirect burdens, such as those placed on women who are often the ones in charge of securing water for households, or the effect on small firms that are unable to grow and innovate because they must bear the cost of electric generators.
“Solutions to improve the resilience of infrastructure exist and investments to do so are both sound and profitable…But it is also necessary to look beyond each individual asset and build more resilient systems and networks. Building redundancy in networks, that is by increasing the number of connections that serve a community, for instance, can be a gamechanger.”
Closing the infrastructure gap to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals will require significant investments in new infrastructure and in the maintenance of existing assets. According to Lifelines, a new report from by the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, the net benefit of building more resilient infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries would be $4.2 trillion, with $4 in benefit for each $1 invested. However, it’s not only about spending more, it’s also about spending better.
This report lays out how to unlock this $4.2 trillion opportunity with a range of clear and concrete recommendations including tackling poor management and governance of infrastructure, building institutions for resilience, improving decision making, providing finance and financial incentive.
>>Download the infographic here