Infrastructure of the World
Infrastructure—literally and figuratively—supports everything we do, spanning transportation, water, communications, and more. From physical products to IT services, essential goods to recreational activities, infrastructure plays a part in the creation, delivery, and enjoyment of our everyday experiences.
Infrastructure isn’t a luxury, but a need—and infrastructure the world over needs dedicated effort from dedicated professionals.
The Worldwide State of Infrastructure
Societies have undertaken extraordinary efforts in the last 100 to 200 years to construct necessary physical infrastructure. As a result, communities benefit from increased access to goods and services and a higher standard of living.
However, there are significant challenges to maintaining and improving global infrastructure, including a lack of investment and the need for sustainable solutions to help slow and mitigate the effects of climate change.
The World Economic Forum’s Infrastructure Index
An assessment of national infrastructure is not easily quantifiable. Regardless, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has established an index to evaluate exactly that.
The WEF uses its assessment of national infrastructure as the second of nine measurements, known as “pillars,” to chart the “Global Competitiveness Report.” 2020’s edition was dedicated to worldwide recovery efforts following COVID-19, which leaves the 2019 report as the most recent report of infrastructure rankings.
In 2019, US infrastructure was ranked 13th. The following countries comprise the top ten rankings for infrastructure (with their overall ranking—factoring in the other eight pillars—indicated as well):
- Singapore (1)
- Netherlands (4)
- Hong Kong (3)
- Switzerland (5)
- Japan (6)
- Republic of Korea, commonly called South Korea (13)
- Spain (23)
- Germany (7)
- France (15)
- Austria (21)
Global Infrastructure Challenges
The design, construction, and maintenance of infrastructure all require dedicated effort, planning, and project funding. Decades of daily use and exposure to elements without active care have lead to the degradation of much of the “hard infrastructure” (roads, bridges, and railways, for example) that supports public, industrial, and commercial physical activities.
Without adequate investment, the infrastructure supporting our daily lives remains at long-term risk.
The “Global Infrastructure Outlook,” a G20 initiative that aims to chart current and expected investment needs, projects that we fell behind back in 2015. Future estimates do not show this gap decreasing in the long run:
- 2015 – $2.3 trillion invested; $2.3 trillion needed ($0 difference)
- 2020 – $2.7 trillion invested; $3.2 trillion needed (-$0.5 trillion)
- 2021 – $2.8 trillion invested (current projection); $3.2 trillion needed (-$0.4 trillion)
- 2025 – $3.0 trillion estimated investment; $3.5 trillion needed (-$0.5 trillion)
- 2030 – $3.3 trillion estimated investment; $3.9 trillion needed (-$0.6 trillion)
- 2035 – $3.5 trillion estimated investment; $4.3 trillion needed (-$0.8 trillion)
- 2040 – $3.8 trillion estimated investment; $4.6 trillion needed (-$0.8 trillion)
Addressing Infrastructure Challenges
Despite these negative investment projections, the World Economic Forum does expect positive infrastructure trends that coincide with the success of broader initiatives:
- The continual adoption of “infratech” (infrastructure technology) promises:
- Smarter and more efficient inspections and maintenance identification, allowing engineers and construction workers to better assess and prioritize critical needs
- More sustainable materials and processes
- Improved design technology
- The broader acknowledgment of inequality amongst social consciousness fosters discussions on improving infrastructure for historically disadvantaged and underserved populations
- Private infrastructure investments will help close the projected funding gap, according to the World Bank’s “Private Participation in Infrastructure (PPI)” report. They detailed commitments of $35.6 billion in the first half of 2021, a 68% increase over the previous year’s same period.
MFS Engineering and Construction—Infrastructure Solutions
MFS is proud to be part of the infrastructure solution for our communities in the New York metropolitan area and Puerto Rico. From blueprints to breaking ground on-site, our team of multidisciplinary experts take on each challenge from the perspective of finding the best solution—not simply the quickest, easiest, or cheapest.
If you have a challenge that requires innovative engineering and construction services, contact us to learn more.
Center for Strategic & International Studies. Quality Infrastructure: Ensuring Sustainable Economic Growth.https://www.csis.org/analysis/quality-infrastructure
Global Infrastructure Outlook. Forecasting infrastructure investment needs and gaps. https://outlook.gihub.org/
The World Bank. Private Participation in Infrastructure (PPI) 2021 Half Year (H1) Report. https://ppi.worldbank.org/content/dam/PPI/documents/PPI_2021_Half-Year-Report.pdf
World Economic Forum. 4 big infrastructure trends to build a sustainable world. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/01/four-big-infrastructure-trends-for-2021/
World Economic Forum. The Global Competitiveness Report 2019. https://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2019.pdf