Publications

- April 1, 2020: Vol. 13, Number 4

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Political headwinds: How populist movements could affect infrastructure investing

by James Wallace

Infrastructure investment is inherently political, and the partnership between institutional capital and national governments has always been a precarious balance. Across most advanced economies, the need for infrastructure renewal is enormous, following successive decades of underinvestment in the “big four” sectors — transportation, power, water and telecommunications. Globally, the required investment has reached $49 trillion during the coming decade, according to McKinsey & Company estimates.

But in recent years, the rise in less conventionally–ideologically grounded governments has added an extra dimension to that relationship. The phrase “populist government” is, in many ways, a clumsy umbrella term, as it covers a broad political spectrum, which can obfuscate, rather than enlighten, any discussion. In this article, this phrase will be defined as democratically elected governments that operate outside of conventional ideological traditions, such as in th

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