Up to 100 million jobs could be created if governments and the private sector could unlock funding for infrastructure, business leaders say.
Up to 100 million jobs could be created if governments and the private sector could bridge a gap between the money required for major infrastructure projects and the funding that is available, business leaders say.
The B20 group of businessmen – which aims to inform leaders from the world’s 20 largest economies who will gather in Brisbane in November – says infrastructure investment presents a huge opportunity for economic and jobs growth.
But Telstra chief executive David Thodey, who co-chairs the B20′s Infrastructure and Investment Taskforce, said on Wednesday that “this incredible opportunity” was not being realised because of major investment roadblocks.
Mr Thodey said recent discussions among about 100 CEOs from around the world had identified a lack of a prioritised list of infrastructure projects that were “truly bankable” as a major issue.
The second key issue was that while there really wasn’t a problem in terms of available funds across the globe, private capital was not flowing through into major infrastructure projects, he told reporters at the B20 forum in Sydney.
“If you look out to 2030 the rough estimate at the moment is there’s $60-$70 trillion dollars of infrastructure investment required,” he said.
“And when you look at how much funding is available, either from governments or where we know, it’s about $45 trillion that’s available.
“But it leaves this gap and if we can fill that gap we think that we can really drive incremental growth across the globe.
“We looked at what could be the outcome if we ever were able to find this funding for the projects and we estimate there could be up to 100 million jobs created.”
The infrastructure taskforce also says there is a growing community acceptance of a “user pays” system funding major infrastructure projects, such as roads and broadband networks, and that the issue was “not quite as acute as it would look at first sight”.
“So yes, on the one side you can say there is something to pay … but you’re creating a lot … of possibilities by investing,” said Marcus Wallenberg, the chairman of Swedish corporate bank SEB AB and a co-chair of the B20 infrastructure taskforce.