Caribbean infrastructure needs more investment

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) would like regional countries to invest annually 6.2 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – some US$320 billion dollars – to satisfy their infrastructure demands in the period 2012-2020.

According to new estimates released by ECLAC in a report, “Economic Infrastructure Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean Database 1980-2012 (EII-LAC-DB),” the figure of 6.2 percent of GDP comes from applying the “investment trajectory to expected infrastructure needs.”

The report assumes that the historic pattern of country investments will be repeated.

“As such, it is an approximation and not a strict recommendation,” the document indicates.

According to the report, the average 2.7 percent of GDP allotted to infrastructure investment in the last decade shows that the region is not investing enough.

The study also says that an adequate response to requirements in this field is key for the region’s insertion in the global economy in the 21st century and for its people’s quality of life.

According to ECLAC, an analysis of the figures in the EII-LAC-DB database reveals “a trend towards increasing investment in the aforementioned four economic infrastructure sectors during the period 2003-2012.”

ECLAC says the transportation sector has drawn the biggest amount of investment since 2005, followed by energy, telecommunications, and water and sanitation.

According to the report, in 2012 (the last year available), average regional investment in the four sectors was 3.49 percent of GDP.

According to ECLAC, investment in infrastructure projects contributes to increasing the coverage and quality of public services (for example, health, education and recreation) and reduces the costs associated with mobility and logistics, which, in turn, improves access to markets of goods, services, employment and financing, providing a favorable environment for improvements in the population’s overall well-being.

Therefore, ECLAC stresses that countries must examine the patterns in their investment decisions to orient them towards new infrastructures that reinforce the path to equality, with sustainability and inclusion.

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