Countries have tough choices to make when investing in different types of infrastructure. Do schools come first? What about irrigation and other agricultural needs so that populations can be fed? Roads, bridges, and other transportation are necessary to facilitate trade and markets for economic growth. And the list goes on. There will always be competing and urgent needs for both public and private infrastructure, and demographic characteristics of the population should help determine investment priorities.
As part of the series on "Demographics and Development in the 21st Century," CGD hosted How Much Do Demographic Factors Influence Infrastructure Demand in Developing Countries? on December 15, 2008. Professor Peter S. Heller, Senior Adjunct Professor, International Economics, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University; and Former Deputy Director, International Monetary Fund, examined how demographic variables affect the need for different infrastructure types, including urban, spatially connective, and regional infrastructure, and how well countries use demographic knowledge to influence their infrastructure investments. Vijaya Ramachandran, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development, proposed a novel approach to energy planning in Africa, and Rachel Nugent, Deputy Director for Global Health, Center for Global Development, moderated this discussion.