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Post-2015 Consensus: Infrastructure Viewpoint, Cadwell

Cadwell supports the inclusion of an infrastructure goal in the post-2015 agenda, and discusses this in the context of transport as an example to illustrate important general points. A joint statement from the heads of the World Bank, IMF and other development banks states that “no country has developed without access to well-functioning infrastructure.” Meanwhile, the infrastructure gap in emerging and developing countries is huge. However, effective investment in infrastructure ‘hardware’ requires an effective network of institutional arrangements as governance ‘software’, which suggests that such competent institutions need to be included when setting targets for infrastructure.

Individual infrastructure projects may be the subject of benefit-cost analysis, but there is no means of measuring composite progress on several fronts. For example, the mobility of people and goods is essential to progress in economic, social and political spheres. However, providing mass transport in urban areas or access to paved roads in rural parts is inevitably inequitable, creating significant access barriers. The impact is difficult to capture in a single metric, but a suggestion from Matt Andrews of Harvard is to use road deaths, which decline as governance functionality (building roads, establishing vehicle standards, licensing and policing) improves. A combination of targets for road access, commuting time and road deaths might facilitate optimal solutions.