$1.5tr needed to fund infrastructure gap in developing countries —World Bank panelists

From left, Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun; a Professor of Economics and public policy, Oxford University, UK, Professor Paul Collier; and chair, World Economic Fourim’s Global Financial System Initiative, Anders Borg, during a panel discussion organised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), at the sideline of the World Bank/IMF general meeting with the theme: “Towards better infrastructure in developing countries, in Washington DC on Wednesday. PHOTO: NAN

Bridging the gap between existing infrastructure and what is needed to set Nigeria and other developing countries, particularly in Africa, on the path of meaningful development, requires the mobilisation of 1.5 trillion dollars.

This was the submission on Thursday evening of a panel of five experts at the ongoing annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund  (IMF) and the World Bank in Washington D.C., United States.

The panel, which was assembled to discuss one of the sub-themes of the meetings, Great Expectations: The Test of Multilateralism, identified areas in critical need of attention to include electricity provision, access to the Internet, health and education, industrialisation, among others.

A member of the panel and World Bank Managing Director, Shaoling Yang, revealed that 1.2 billion people are without electricity in developing countries, just as 4 billion people globally, representing 60 per cent of world population, don’t have access to the Internet.

Yang lamented that multilateral agencies like the World Bank, IMF and others only have the capacity to mobilise 10 per cent of the required funds.

He emphasised the need for global solutions to the problems of funding gap in infrastructure development and the need to build a safety net to protect poor people in developing countries and around the world.

Another panelist, Ray Offenheiser, lamented the “radical disconnect” between the political class in developing countries the people they govern.

He said the massive social disruptions  caused by the disconnect was alarming and challenged the theoretical foundations of development theories.

He called for concerted effort in addressing the issue of “premature de-industrialisation” in Africa and the running of an inclusive development agenda.

According to him, the population explosion in Africa is not being matched with comparable industrial growth and job opportunities.

All the panelists agreed on the need to retool the Brentwood Institutions and make them fit for purpose in the 21st century.