The Global Demand for Infrastructure Investment

There is a US $4.5 trillion annual global infrastructure investment need and US $2.5 trillion annual shortfall in infrastructure investment.

US $4.5 trillion is needed annually to fulfill the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from now until 2030, with a current annual shortfall of US $2.5 trillion. Covering the investment shortfall will require a blended finance approach, recruiting both the public and private sectors. Private investors can contribute by financing the development of revenue-producing assets. In this way, private investors may render a societal benefit, while potentially achieving strong and stable returns and fulfilling their investment mandates.

Given the need for new projects, deferred capital expenditures, and replacement cycles, there is also a tremendous opportunity now to chart a path to a sustainable future. How we decide to plan, site, design, finance, and build infrastructure will have an impact for decades. Investors have particular influence over this process, and can encourage projects that are both economically attractive and environmentally sustainable. Furthermore, we believe it will be impossible to invest in real assets in the future without a rigorous sustainability approach.

While the components of a civil society are as diverse as the UN’s SDGs, infrastructure is fundamental to every facet of our economy, environment, and society. As supporters of the SDGs, we encourage you to join us in addressing this investment shortfall. This is a generational, humanitarian, and economic challenge.

Large parts of the world population lack access to basic infrastructure:

  • 663 million people lack access to clean water
  • 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation
  • 1.1 billion people lack access to reliable electricity

Large parts of the world population lack access to sufficient economic infrastructure:

  • The IMF estimates that a 1 percent increase in infrastructure spending is associated with a 1.3 percent to 3 percent increase in output over the long-term

Basic infrastructure shortfalls are an ongoing crisis across the developing world. Insufficient infrastructure leads to constrained economic growth, inefficient energy production and utilization resulting in greater carbon intensity, and a degraded quality of life and negative social impacts for those living under developing economies.

The global demand for infrastructure investment is an opportunity for private investors to contribute to build a sustainable future, provide societal benefits, and potentially achieve strong and stable returns.


  • 663 million people who do not have access to clean water and 2.4 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation
  • 1 in 5 deaths of children under the age of 5 is due to a water-related disease, and half of the world's hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water related diseases


  • Major developing economies with more than 5 percent of their population without electricity: India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, and South Korea
  • Over 70 percent of global energy capacity comes from non-renewables. Coal supplies 30 percent of energy and emits 44 percent of global CO2 emissions


  • Lack of adequate transport is a challenge in developing countries, limiting the movement of goods and labor


  • Large portions of many major developing economies lack internet access: India (82%), Indonesia (82.8%), Mexico (55.6%), South Africa (51.0%), Turkey (49.0%), Brazil (42.4%), Argentina (35.3%)

Real Public Capital Stock in Advanced and Emerging Economies

Real public capital stock has been falling in both developing and advanced economies despite the effects of deterioration on existing infrastructure and the lack of infrastructure in many communities.

Real Public Capital Stock in Advanced and Emerging Economies


Real Public Investment in Advanced and Emerging Economies

Real public investment as a percentage of GDP has been declining in developing and advanced economies despite the size of the need.

Real Public Investment in Advanced and Emerging Economies

Source: Citi Research (2016)

Source both charts: UN (2016), IAEA (2018), IMF (2014), Citi Research (2016), Haver Analytics (2016), UNESCO/ WHO (2016), Center for Climate and Energy Solution, Renewable Energy Policy Network (2016), McKinsey & Co (2016, 2013), OECD World Development Indicators (2016), WEF (2016)

Infrastructure Investment

The Supply of Investable Capital

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