Infrastructure investment is an important tool to create jobs, propel economic recovery, and position our economies for sustainable growth. A number of local and international initiatives and resources are available to investors. This article highlights three resources that may be of interest to retirement funds.
Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) – Summary of SA National Infrastructure Plan
“Infrastructure investment is key to our efforts to grow the economy, create jobs, empower small businesses and provide services to our people. We have invested heavily in new roads, power stations, schools and other infrastructure. As some of our projects are taking time to get off the ground and to enhance our efforts, I will assemble a team to speed up implementation of new projects, particularly water projects, health facilities and road maintenance. We have learnt some valuable lessons from our experience in building all the new infrastructure, which will inform our way ahead. We will focus on improvements in our budget and monitoring systems, improve the integration of projects and build a broad compact on infrastructure with business and organised labour.”
– President Cyril Ramaphosa, State of the Nation Address 2018
The South African government adopted a National Infrastructure Plan in 2012 that intends to transform our economic landscape, while simultaneously creating significant numbers of new jobs, and to strengthen the delivery of basic services. The plan also supports the integration of African economies. This document is a high-level summary of the National Infrastructure Plan. It sets out the challenges South Africa needs to respond to in planning and developing enabling infrastructure that fosters economic growth.
More recently, government has announced the establishment of Infrastructure South Africa. Infrastructure South Africa will play a coordinating role and serve as the conduit to develop all government infrastructure projects that require funding from the fiscus.
Further PICC resources: http://www.economic.gov.za/picc
Primer on responsible investment in infrastructure
This report by the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) clarifies key concepts of responsible investment in private infrastructure equity and debt, and how the six Principles for Responsible Investment apply to infrastructure.
The PRI defines responsible investment as “an approach to investing that aims to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment decisions, to better manage risk and generate sustainable, long-term returns”.
Responsible investment is particularly compatible with infrastructure investing because of the long-term nature of this asset class and its focus on essential services. Responsible investment is about systematically identifying, assessing, pricing, managing and monitoring material ESG risks. It means preserving and enhancing the value of an asset in the investment process – from origination to deal-making, asset management and exit. Addressing material ESG considerations and practising active asset management should contribute to an improvement in the long-term risk-adjusted returns for investors.
Further PRI resources: https://www.unpri.org/investmenttools/alternative-investments/infrastructure
Voices on Infrastructure, Restarting Economies with infrastructure investment (January 2021) is a collection of insights on restarting economies with infrastructure investment published by the Global Infrastructure Initiative (GII).
Infrastructure investment is an important tool to create jobs, propel economic recovery, and position our economies for sustainable growth. More than ever, many countries are faced with the need to invest in updated infrastructure to support growing populations; address inequities in the distribution of infrastructure services – from transportation to healthcare; and decarbonise their industries. COVID-19’s impact on the global economy has exacerbated the need for governments to identify investment programmes that will stimulate economic recovery and create sustainable jobs. The pandemic has also highlighted the weaknesses in our core social and physical infrastructure that have hampered our response to COVID-19 – which will make recovery that much more difficult.
Further GII resources: https://www.globalinfrastructureinitiative.com/about
PICC | Global Infrastructure Initiative | PRI
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