New project tool targets $57tn infrastructure gap

The Cloud-based platform, supported by a clutch of multilateral lenders and private sponsors, will seek to support early-stage projects.

A group of global development banks and private sector players this week launched the International Infrastructure Support System (IISS), an online, Cloud-based project development tool aiming to strengthen project procurement.

The initiative is seen by its sponsors as a promising step towards addressing a global infrastructure gap that recent research has placed at about $57 trillion, a large part of which, they say, owes to the lack of well-prepared projects to fulfil the world’s growing needs. It will be implemented by the Sustainable Infrastructure Foundation (SIF), a Geneva-based non-profit organisation.

“A number of infrastructure projects do not progress beyond the conceptual stage even though they benefit from strong public support and could potentially be funded through private savings from pension funds, insurance companies, and other private investors,” said Julia Prescot, chief strategy officer at fund manager Meridiam and president of SIF.

During an interview with Infrastructure Investor last month, she explained that the system is akin to a template that governments – with the help of prospective private partners – will have to fill to ensure all appropriate steps are taken to ensure the viability of early-stage projects. These won’t always be public-private partnerships, she said, as one objective of IISS is precisely to help determine the most appropriate financing structure for a given project.

“By the use of new technologies through the International Infrastructure Support System, collaborative work, and bringing together the required expertise, the Sustainable Infrastructure Foundation will demonstrate how project pipelines with a focus on sustainability can be generated as well as creating attractive investment opportunities.”

The launch is supported by a large number of multilateral organisations, comprising the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the African Development Bank, the Brazilian Development Bank, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Global Green Growth Institute and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The tool, first developed by the ADB in its region of operation, will now go through a trial phase to ensure its robustness. Four projects will be chosen as pilots in Latin America, Africa, Central Europe and Asia, undertaken by SIF with assistance from the WEF.