World needs US$94 trillion spent on infrastructure by 2040: Report

LONDON (REUTERS) - Nearly a fifth of the US$94 trillion (S$128 trillion) in global infrastructure investment needed by 2040 risks being unfunded if current spending trends continue, the G-20-backed Global Infrastructure Hub said on Tuesday (July 25).

To close the spending gap, annual infrastructure spending needs to rise to 3.5 per cent from 3 per cent of global gross domestic product, the GIH said in a report.

The report details how much each country needs to spend on infrastructure until 2040, which sectors need it the most and how far they are from meeting these needs based on current spending trends.

"We believe this information will be key to governments, and indeed those organisations that fund, plan and build infrastructure projects into the future - and providing sustainable cities with social and economic benefits for all," GIH chief executive Chris Heathcote said.

The GIH, set up by the Group of 20 in 2014, aims to help increase opportunities for public and private investment in infrastructure around the world.

It is funded by governments including those in Britain, Australia, China, South Korea and Singapore.

Every year, US$3.7 trillion needs to be invested in infrastructure to meet demand - equivalent to the annual economic output of Germany, the world's fourth largest economy.

And to meet United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to ensure universal access to drinking water and electricity by 2030, investment needs to increase to 3.7 per cent of global gross domestic product between now and 2030, it said.

The investment is needed to support global economic growth and fill gaps in infrastructure in both developed and developing countries, the GIH said.

The United States will have the largest gap in infrastructure spending, at US$3.8 trillion, while China will have the greatest demand, at US$28 trillion, representing 30 per cent of global infrastructure investment needs.

The report, which includes a deep study of 50 countries and seven industry sectors, was written by Australia-based GIH and Oxford Economics.

"(It) is a comprehensive and detailed analysis of infrastructure investment need. It gives the new country and sector spending data that governments and funding organisations have been calling for," Mr Heathcote said.

Underpinning the need for increased spend is an expected rise in the global population by 2 billion people by 2040 and a 46 per cent increase in the urban population, driven by Asia, which needs US$52 trillion in investment by 2040 to meet that demand.