The World Bank says new data shows that private participation in infrastructure (PPI) in developing countries, such as those in the Caribbean, has seen a “very modest uptick” in the second half of the year.
The Washington-based financial institution said the 56 per cent drop in PPI from the previous year moderated to 52 per cent for the full year while taking a historic plunge in the first half of 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The World Bank said the pandemic’s impact was most severe in East Asia and Pacific, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, and South Asia.
The bank said that infrastructure investment commitments in 2020 stood at US$45.7 billion across 252 projects in developing countries.
“Hopefully, this data signals that the worst effects of COVID-19 on private sector infrastructure finance are now behind most developing countries,” said Imad Fakhoury, the World Bank’s global director for Infrastructure Finance, PPPs & Guarantees.
“While this situation remains in flux as the pandemic’s trajectory changes, we’re keen on scaling up private investment in sustainable and quality infrastructure in these countries going forward but need more resilient frameworks and enabling environments,” he added.
“This is critical for building back better post-pandemic, restoring progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and delivering on climate commitments to ensure green, resilient and inclusive development,” Fakhoury emphasised.
The World Bank said COVID-19’s global impact on infrastructure was “widespread and swift”.
It said that, since the start of 2020, existing infrastructure projects were delayed or cancelled due to supply-chain disruptions, travel and shipping restrictions, and other obstacles.
The Washington based financial institution said decreased demand or required renegotiations also prevented or delayed many projects already in pipelines from achieving financial closure.
“Moreover, as public debt globally has risen to record levels and sovereign credit ratings have been downgraded across the developing world, the private sector reacted with caution,” the World Bank said.