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Pandemic recovery seen driving growth in private infra investment


THE rise of private participation in infrastructure (PPI) in East Asia and the Pacific last year was driven by economic recovery from the pandemic, the World Bank said.

Investment commitments in the region rose 57% year on year to $43.4 billion in 2022.

“This indicates a full recovery to pre-pandemic investment, with levels reaching 18% higher than the previous five-year average of $36.9 billion,” it said in a report.

“Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states have fared relatively well, with PPI investments increasing to pre-pandemic levels. Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines were among the top 10 destinations for PPI in 2022,” it added.

However, the World Bank said that the number of projects in the region hit a 10-year low.

Overall, total PPI hit $91.7 billion last year, equivalent to 0.25% of the gross domestic product of all low- and middle-income countries.

In terms of investment commitments in infrastructure projects in low-and middle-income countries, the Philippines ranked fifth with 3% of the total. China was the top recipient of investment (33%), followed by Brazil (19%), India (13%) Vietnam (5%), and Indonesia (5%).

Last year, the transport sector bagged the most PPI investment with $66.2 billion or 68% of the total.

In particular, investment commitments in airports amounted to $6.5 billion across seven projects in Brazil, India, Peru, and the Philippines.

“With the easing of most travel restrictions, these private sector-led airport projects began to show growth in the post-pandemic period in 2021. Investment commitments in airport projects through public-private partnerships recorded a notable level in 2022, albeit not as high as in 2021,” it said.

Investment commitments in information and communication technology (ICT) also rose to $545 million across eight projects in six countries.

“However, this is a significant decrease from the previous five-year average of $1.1 billion. Investment commitments in ICT were made in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jordan, Maldives, Nigeria, the Philippines and South Africa,” it added.

Meanwhile, investment commitments in the water supply and sanitation sector fell 48% to $2.3 billion across 25 projects in nine countries.

Investment commitments in WSS were made in Benin, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Mali, and the Philippines.

The World Bank also noted an increase in development and export finance institution (DEFI) support.

“This accounted for 26% of all PPI projects, marking an increase from both 2020 and 2021. By investment value, projects with DEFI support accounted for 22% of total investment commitments. There were four megaprojects that received DEFI support as well, in Brazil, the Philippines, Senegal and Colombia,” it added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson

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