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New IT platform aims to speed up project delivery

IISS, created jointly by multilateral banks and the private sector, is designed to help developing countries better prepare projects.

The International Infrastructure Support System (IISS), unveiled recently in Washington DC, is the result of an initiative by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to develop a cloud-based digital platform aimed at helping developing countries better prepare infrastructure projects.

The fruit of a collaboration between global development banks and the private sector, IISS is an online, multi-user platform that will collect data and information on all aspects of project development. Accessible to both the public and private sectors, it will also enable the two sides to communicate and share feedback.

“We know that infrastructure investors want to understand better where to invest in emerging markets, which projects are being prepared, and when such projects are coming to market,” said Thomas Maier, managing director of infrastructure at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is involved in the IISS project. “[IISS] seeks to increase knowledge, lower transaction costs of preparing projects, and ultimately holds out the promise of accelerated infrastructure investment.”

The Sustainable Investment Foundation (SIF), a Geneva-based non-profit that implemented the platform, reckons the public sector does not invest extensively in project preparation despite a growing need for better and more consistent planning.

IISS’ goal is to raise the quality, consistency and transparency of the public sector’s actions in that respect. It also aims to improve communication between financiers and project sponsors to maximise funding options, whether public, private or in the form of public-private partnerships (PPPs; P3s), according to SIF.

“Significant input in IISS’ development has been provided by the private sector, who will act subsequently as investors,” the EBRD added in a statement.

Private sector partners on the IISS project include Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec; Meridiam Infrastructure, Capgemini, Veolia Environnement, Allianz Global Investors and Vinci Concessions.

In addition to ADB and EBRD, other development banks that have served as funding and technical partners for the project include the African Development Bank, the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the World Bank Group, the World Economic Forum and the Global Green Growth Institute.