Publications

- December 1, 2019: Vol. 12, Number 11

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Political uncertainty, ESG, cautious investors: A whistle-stop tour of global infrastructure

by Karl Nietvelt

Infrastructure investors operate in increasingly uncertain times. Compared with past years, observers note that global politics is lacking continuity. We note the rise of populist governments in many regions — and busy election calendars during the first half-year across Asia and the past year in Latin America (with Argentina yet to come). Downward regulatory tariff revisions in Europe equally add to this uncertainty. Finally, protectionist policies have given rise to trade tensions between economic powerhouses such as the United States and China. Such uncertainty could undermine investment (both public and private) for infrastructure — an asset class with typically lengthy lifespans that, therefore, benefits from political and regulatory calm.

At the same time, infrastructure’s long-term characteristics are leading investors and entities to increasingly consider the financial benefits of incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment d

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