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Chile, Brazil and Colombia Most Attractive in Latin America for Private Investment in Infrastructure
In the World Economic Forum’s new index measuring attractiveness for private investment in infrastructure in Latin America, Peru follows the top three closely, while Venezuela, Bolivia and Dominican Republic have the least attractive environment.
Santiago de Chile, Chile, 25 April 2007 – Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Peru lead the region with respect to the attractiveness of their private investment climate for infrastructure. Covering 12 economies in Latin America and the Caribbean, the study, “Benchmarking National Attractiveness for Private Investment in Latin American Infrastructure”, assesses the main drivers of private investment in infrastructure projects for ports, airports, roads and electricity. This is the first time that the World Economic Forum has developed an index specifically analysing the investment environment for infrastructure.
The World Economic Forum on Latin America 2006 in São Paulo identified poor infrastructure as a major obstacle to the region’s ability to compete globally and as one of the priority areas in which the World Economic Forum needed to explore alternatives and catalyse actions to overcome the current shortcomings.
The study features the Infrastructure Private Investment Attractiveness Index (IPIAI), a customized, methodological tool gauging the institutions, factors and policies making it attractive for private investors to invest in infrastructure projects. An assessment of infrastructure investment opportunities is also performed for each of the countries covered.
Infrastructure Private Investment Attractiveness Index
Rank Country Score
1 Chile 5.43
2 Brazil 4.40
3 Colombia 4.33
4 Peru 4.23
5 Mexico 4.04
6 Uruguay 4.02
7 El Salvador 3.97
8 Guatemala 3.64
9 Argentina 3.41
10 Venezuela 3.37
11 Bolivia 3.34
12 Dominican Republic 3.33
The eight pillars measured by the IPIAI are:
• Macroeconomic environment: economic stability, market size and growth prospects
• Legal framework (rule of law), including regulatory efficiency, public ethics and the effectiveness of dispute settlement procedures
• Political risk
• Ease of access to information
• Sophistication and development of the financial markets that enable infrastructure financing
• The country’s track record on private investment in infrastructure over the past 15 years
• Relations between government and society, including society’s willingness to pay for the services related to infrastructure
• Government readiness to deal with and ability to facilitate private investment in infrastructure
“The IPIAI provides country-specific diagnostics about relative national strengths and weaknesses in attracting private infrastructure investment,” said Irene Mia, Senior Economist at the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Network.
“From an investor’s perspective, the IPIAI provides a customized toolkit for investment decisions and location choices in Latin America while it guides policy-makers in the choice of the best policies to foster their national attractiveness for private investment in infrastructure and in prioritizing sectors and measures,” said Julio Estrada, Research Projects Manager for Latin America at the World Economic Forum.
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The twelve countries included in the study were grouped into four different clusters, each showing a specific attractiveness profile. The classification under a particular cluster has specific policy implications for a given country in that it indicates the reforms and policies to prioritize to catalyse high volumes of private investment in infrastructure, which differ from those for countries in other clusters.
With an environment extremely conducive to private investment in infrastructure, Chile is in a class of its own in the region. It is therefore no surprise that Chile has been one of the most salient countries worldwide in terms of the amount of private investment in infrastructure made in the past two decades.
Cluster 1 is formed by Brazil, Peru and Colombia, who show a fairly strong performance across most pillars, with the exception of the legal framework for Brazil, the civil society–government related dimension for Peru and the track record on private investment projects for Colombia. What is common to the three countries is that their governments and entrepreneurs face a challenge of execution and innovation, to deal with the specific complexities in increasing the flow of successful projects.
Cluster 2 is composed of Mexico and El Salvador. Both perform fairly strongly in the general investment environment dimensions and, very importantly, they also display a developed financial sector, providing financing for infrastructure investment projects. At the same time, they have a weak track record on private infrastructure investment and perform poorly in the pillar that relates to the social and civil society–government relations.
To boost investment in infrastructure, these countries should implement short-term policies and administrative reforms and make a centralized effort to get key projects going.
Cluster 3 includes Guatemala and Uruguay and, to a lesser extent, Dominican Republic. These countries have decent general investment environments but are weak in the infrastructure investment specific factor. In particular, Guatemala shows little sophistication in its financial markets, with an underdeveloped pension fund system. Dominican Republic has a similarly underdeveloped financial system with the added complexity of a very recent and severe bank crisis from which it is only starting to recover. Uruguay’s financial system also has yet to fully recover from the macroeconomic crisis of the first half of the decade, displaying very little long-term credit availability in local currency and pension funds investing mainly in government debt. Reforms to streamline projects and improve the government’s capacity to facilitate private investment are a priority, together with those targeted at reinforcing and developing the financial sector, which are more complex and require a comprehensive and consistent medium-term approach.
Cluster 4 In this cluster, which includes Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela, general investment conditions are poor. Most private infrastructure investment in these countries is related to industry-specific initiatives in areas where benefits are directly captured by investors (mining, oil and gas). The use of private investment to provide public goods is almost nonexistent. The challenge for these countries is the adoption of an extensive agenda of reforms targeted at improving the general investment climate.
The study is based on publicly available hard data as well as perception data. In particular, the authors used the results from the World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey (EOS) and conducted a mini-survey among practitioners and legal experts on government readiness to deal with and manage private investment projects. Data from the Centre d’Etudes Prospectives et d’Informations Internationales (CEPII) and Latinobarómetro were also used.
“Perception data represents a useful complement to hard data, since they capture key dimensions of national attractiveness for private infrastructure investment and for infrastructure quality, for which there is no quantitative data available for all the countries covered,” said Thierry Geiger, Economist at the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Network.
The authors of the study are Irene Mia, Julio Estrada and Thierry Geiger of the World Economic Forum.
Esta evaluación coincide con la de la Fundación Heritage, publicada por Clarín hace unos días.
En unos días, nuevamente conversaremos sobre el asunto.
Post Data 1: Beatríz Nofal, de la Agencia de Inversiones argentina, cuestiona las cifras:
"El período de base de ese ránking descalifica a la Argentina porque incorpora la peor crisis de la historia nacional que se dio en el periodo 2001-2002", señaló la funcionaria.
Nofal sostuvo además que "la recesión argentina que terminó en depresión, crisis económica y salida de la convertibilidad empezó en 1998", y por eso dijo que "el periodo de análisis es lo que explica la mala calificación de Argentina".
"Voy a solicitar que hagan una comparación tomando el periodo 2003-2006, porque fue en esos años que se produjo un cambio de paradigma", subrayó la funcionaria, en declaraciones radiales.