Why Data, and Why Now?
The Addis Ababa Action Agenda—a product of the 2015 Third International Conference on Financing for Development—had an immediate impact on the way multilateral development banks (MDBs) think about infrastructure. One of its primary goals was “Establishing a new forum to bridge the infrastructure gap.” To make that happen, participants concluded that “Investing in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including transport, energy, water and sanitation for all, is a pre-requisite for achieving many of our goals.”
The first Global Infrastructure Forum, convened this month in Washington, DC by MDBs and other development partners, will focus on the ways in which MDBs can further strengthen their collaboration, leveraging resources to drive forward investment in sustainable and resilient infrastructure.
To be able to make the right investment decisions, MDBs must have the right information—and that’s where data comes in. The right data must inform decisions about how and where to invest in infrastructure that will last. The current issue of Handshake explores the various ways that data can result in better decisions: from national or even regional infrastructure investment planning by allowing us to define the problem, or “gap,” more accurately; to learning from the growing experiences of national public-private partnership (PPP) programs by benchmarking properly and collecting the right information along the way; to improving contract management through the application of innovative real-time data collection and contract adjustment.
Infrastructure experts from MDBs and development partners have contributed articles here that address data’s intersection with PPPs. As we all strive to link progress to policy, we look for ways to help governments navigate toward an infrastructure plan that maps to the realities they face. Data has the potential to guide us toward smarter investments in infrastructure, and the articles and columns in this issue begin to chart the course.