GI Hub CEO Chris Heathcote appeared at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) first annual meeting on June 25-26. Mr Heathcote appeared on a panel discussing ‘Infrastructure and Global Economic Growth’ along with AIIB President Jin Liqun, Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Pierre Egide Gramegna, Minister of Finance Luxembourg, Imad Najib Fakhoury, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Jordan, and Thomas Maier, Managing Director for Infrastructure from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
In common with other speakers, Mr Heathcote said there was no shortage of capital to invest in infrastructure projects. Indeed, he noted that in the current ultra-low interest rate environment infrastructure investment should be a very attractive asset class.
Mr Heathcote said that what was needed to realise the potential was:
- a clear strategy from government and a desire to engage with the private sector;
- clear lines of responsibility within Governments;
- clear project pipelines; and
- careful selection of projects suitable for PPPs.
He noted that these attributes were being brought together successfully in countries such as the Philippines, Jordan and Columbia.
In emerging markets Mr Heathcote said the private sector often needed an expert partner. The MDBs have country presence, local knowledge, financial resources and project preparation facilities. In short they are well placed to crowd in private finance. However, in many cases the private sector were more likely to see the MDBs as competitors so more work needed to be done. A clear role for the AIIB to show leadership in promoting genuine partnerships was noted.