Despite a recent rise in investments, the world is not channeling enough of its resources into transport, utilities and other essential systems. Current spending would need to jump from $2.5 trillion to $3.3 trillion a year to support economic growth, according to McKinsey. Today, over two billion people live in places that the World Bank categorizes as “lagging areas,” lacking access to basic services, economic opportunities and solid infrastructure. Of these, one billion live in slums. On the 2030 horizon, the world faces an 11% underinvestment gap that will result in deteriorating infrastructure assets, underserved citizens and lower business productivity. In contrast, bridging infrastructure gaps would bring both short-term benefits (job creation, improved health and quality of life) and long- term benefits (one dollar invested in infrastructure is estimated to boost economic productivity – in the form of raised GDP – by 20 cents).
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A hallmark of national competitiveness for Nordic countries is their emphasis on excellent infrastructure. Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland all place in the top 20 for basic infrastructure in the latest IMD World Competitiveness Ranking.