The World Bank Group’s infrastructure investments are helping people around the world improve their lives and overcome obstacles to prosperity.
In Sri Lanka, 110,000 households gained access to electricity through a renewable energy project in rural areas. In Rwanda, half a million people gained improved water services and 70,000 students benefited from improved hygiene facilities at schools thanks to a rural water supply and sanitation project. An IDA credit in Afghanistan attracted over $1.2 billion in private investments, improving access to information and communication technologies services and reducing their prices. In Russia, more than 1 billion Euro was mobilized via a public-private partnership to expand the St. Petersburg’s airport, increasing passenger traffic by 33 percent in the first year.
Infrastructure investments like these are critical to delivering growth and reducing poverty. Increasingly, infrastructure is also viewed as the agent of change to address the more systemic development challenges of today’s world, from social stability to rapid urbanization, climate change, natural disasters, and food and energy security.
Finding solutions to these challenges requires tackling the complexity and inter-connectivity of sectors. This realization―that infrastructure is more than the sum of actions by individual sectors―is shaping the global agenda, from the G-20 Summits in Korea and Cannes to the upcoming summit in Mexico and the Rio+20 sustainable development conference.
In response to this evolving context, the World Bank Group has developed an updated infrastructure strategy for FY12-15. Transformation through Infrastructure specifies what the Bank Group will do over the next three years in all the infrastructure sectors―energy, information and communication technologies, transport, and water.
“This strategy update lays out a framework for how to transform the Bank Group’s engagement in infrastructure across sectors in order to respond to demands for more cross-cutting and integrated solutions,” said Rachel Kyte, vice president of the Sustainable Development Network at the World Bank. “This is the next frontier for World Bank Group engagement and, if we get it right, it has the potential to accelerate growth and shift clients towards a more sustainable development trajectory.”