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Private Sector Pumps $86B into Infrastructure in Low- to Middle-Income Nations

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WASHINGTON, May 14, 2024—New World Bank data finds that private infrastructure investment in low- and middle-income countries totaled $86 billion in 2023. Investments declined 5% compared with 2022, however, were on par with the previous five-year average.

Despite the decline in total investment, more countries received private investments in infrastructure across a wider sample of projects. In 2023, 68 countries received investments across 322 projects, compared to 54 countries and 260 projects in 2022. Guinea Bissau, Libya, Papua New Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Suriname achieved their first private participation in infrastructure (PPI) transactions in more than a decade.

The Private Participation in Infrastructure report dates back to 1984. It tracks investments in 10,000 infrastructure projects in low- and middle-income countries on a continuous basis. As infrastructure financing becomes a bigger priority for countries around the globe, this dataset is an important resource for tracking progress and identifying trends.

Getting the right infrastructure in place is crucial for people to live to their full potential. With government budgets under pressure and an infrastructure financing gap totaling multiple trillions of dollars, more private sector participation is needed to deliver infrastructure projects,” said Guangzhe Chen, Infrastructure Vice President at the World Bank. “At the World Bank, we are pulling out all the stops to enable this progress, through our work on public-private partnerships, our overhauled guarantees program, and our grants to the world’s poorest countries. The PPI report is an important tool for us in these efforts. It is the only database of its kind, offering a direct view into the regions and sectors receiving infrastructure investments, how these projects are structured, and what role multilateral development banks can play in these contexts.”

Private infrastructure investments declined in most regions in 2023, with notable exceptions being the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and East Asia and Pacific (EAP). MENA continued its growth trajectory, with PPI investment levels almost doubling from $1.4 billion in 2022 to $2.9 billion in 2023. The EAP region returned to pre-pandemic levels of investment after a three-year lag as the region recovered from the effects of COVID-19.

When it comes to sectoral trends, energy saw a threefold increase in investment levels in 2023, with most of this increase directed toward EAP. In line with the continued global push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 97% of electricity generation projects were renewable in 2023, compared to 93% in the previous five-year period. 

When it comes to the world’s poorest countries, 26 countries that are members of the International Development Association (IDA) received investment commitments amounting to $4.3 billion across 53 projects in 2023, an 18% increase and a record in terms of number of projects.  

The PPI Database has data on over 10,000 infrastructure projects in 137 low- and middle-income countries from 1984 to the present. The database is the leading source of PPI trends in the developing world, covering projects in the energy, transport, water and sewage, information and communications technology (ICT), and municipal solid waste sectors.