The infrastructure financing and development group, InfraCo, which is an arm of the World Bank-funded Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), is entering Asia, according to a huge and historic announcement made in Asia Wednesday.
"InfraCo Asia" aims to identify early-stage infrastructure projects, provide seed funding, and get the projects to the point where larger private sector investors will feel comfortbale investing in a relatively low-risk environment. The countries of focus will be those currently largely neglected by private sector investors but which together make up a substantial part of Asia's population and resources—namely Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Laos, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.
It's a welcome addition to the spate of current development investments in the region, especially as the group is not shying away from the smaller nations. Infrastructure challenges lie at the heart of many development and poverty-related issues, ranging from health to education to electricity, water sanitation, and transportation.
"We fill this gap with early stage funding and relevant development expertise, balancing the interests of governments, local communities, private sector investors and financiers," said InfraCo Asia Chairman, Rod Sims.
What's especially encouraging is the focus on hydro and wind energy projects.
"We take a balanced portfolio approach with a mix of larger, more commercial projects such as power plants, along with smaller projects that more directly benefit the disadvantaged such as infrastructure that supports agriculture. The reality is that there has been inadequate response from the private sector towards investing in infrastructure in developing countries," said InfraCo Asia Managing Director, Surender Singh.
The announcement was made in Singapore today amidst a number of international dignitaries.
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[Image: Flickr user bopuc]