It was a visit worthy of a plethora of superlatives. The arrival of China’s President Xi Jinping in Athens (November 10-12) was termed a “vote of confidence” for Greece. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis underlined that Greece and China are bound together by their cultural heritages, linking ancient civilizations of the West and East. President Xi described China’s multi-decade anchor investment in the Port of Piraeus as the “biggest project of the One Belt, One Road Initiative” (OBOR, the official Chinese term for the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI)).
Currently, Asia has a population of 4.6 billion and a GDP of US$31.58 billion. Its annual infrastructure spending amounts to about 3% of GDP (US$0.95 trillion) and, if Asia is to limit the adverse effects of climate change and rising sea levels, it will need to invest 4.5% of GDP (US$1.42 trillion). These are approximate estimates, given that infrastructure spending varies between 2.5% to 8% of GDP for most countries globally.
The Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) was established in 2014, as the successor of the TEN-T Executive Agency, for the development of the Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T). INEA supports the Commission, the project promoters and the Member States by providing high quality programme management to infrastructure projects. INEA manages the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which is the EU programme dedicated to co-financing infrastructure projects in the fields of Transport, Energy and Telecommunications.
The intense pressures of economic competition at a global scale are fueling the growth of major infrastructure investments at an unprecedented rate. These investments are frequently perceived as critical to the ‘success’ of major urban, regional and national development through their ability to affect significant socio-economic change (OMEGA Centre, 2012).
Infrastructure Australia was established in 2008 to advise governments, industry and the community on the investments and reforms needed to deliver better infrastructure for all Australians.
Investments in infrastructure represent a fundamental component of the economic and social development of a country and geographic area. State-of-the-art and efficient infrastructure provide substantial benefits such as new jobs, reduction in production and transportation costs, interconnected markets, and privileged access to key services like health and education. Sound infrastructure allows to effectively size the benefits of globalization and ensure such benefits are commonly shared among the population and among different locations.
Effectiveness, transparency and predictability are more and more imperative words in infrastructure planning and realization. In the last few years, a rising number of Independent Infrastructure Advisory Bodies have been established to ensure a support to national and local governments in planning and realizing a long-term infrastructural strategy.
Infrastructure Canada is the national ministry of infrastructure rather than an independent government agency or advisory body. It designs and administers the national government's funding programs to infrastructure across a variety of sectors such as transportation, water, energy, and social infrastructure.
On July 20th 1969, the dominoes were lined up for the first moon landing in the history of humankind. Impressive new technologies (illustrated by the Saturn V rocket launcher, still the most powerful ever built), an unconditional trust culture within NASA, political commitment and justification, and personal motivation of those involved were key components for the success of the mission. With 400,000 people working on the project, it took the NASA less than two years to go from Apollo 1’s deadly fires to 11’s moon landing.
By 2040 the world is projected to face a 15 trillion dollar infrastructure gap. Infrastructure boosts economic growth, competitiveness and enhances global connectivity and trade flows: but in the long run, the widening gap may harm the global economy, reducing growth potential and increasing disparities between developed and less developed countries, between urban and rural areas.