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G-20 Brisbane Showing Cracks in Infrastructure Agenda

As we approach the G-20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane, it is worth giving credit to Australia for its robust presidency, and particularly the attention paid to the G-20’s development agenda. Sandwiched between the Russian and Turkish presidencies—countries considerably more controversial these days in the West—Australia faced the difficult task of generating sufficient goodwill among the membership within a year to make some progress on a sprawling work plan.

The Rise of the Regionals

Lost in all of the noise of the post-Lehman crisis response was an important structural shift in the international development landscape: a much bigger footprint for the regional development banks relative to the World Bank.

Starting in 2009, the G20 pursued a number of measures to help developing countries weather the crisis, one of the most visible of which was an agreement to have the multilateral development banks (MDBs) lend aggressively into the crisis, paired with the commitment of new capital from the institutions’ shareholders in subsequent years.

Five Ways to Breathe New Life into the G-20 Infrastructure Agenda

The Australians are using their G-20 presidency to make a fresh start with the group’s infrastructure agenda, launching a new “Infrastructure and Investment” working group this week in Mexico City.

And not a moment too soon. A recent CGD study group Scott chaired concluded that this highly compelling agenda risks becoming a stale one absent some new approaches.