Well Spent: How Strong Infrastructure Governance Can End Waste in Public Investment
The IMF’s “Well Spent” book examines how strong infrastructure governance can end waste in public investment.
Public investment is key for fostering inclusive economic growth and development, building green and resilient infrastructure, and fighting against pandemics. Yet, public investment outcomes are often poor, marred by inefficient projects and flaws in the planning, allocation and execution stages of public investment, often reflecting rampant rent-seeking behavior and corruption.
Drawing on the IMF’s analytical and capacity development work, including Public Investment Management Assessments (PIMAs) carried out in more than 60 countries, the new book Well Spent: How Strong Infrastructure Governance Can End Waste in Public Investment addresses how countries can attain quality infrastructure outcomes through better infrastructure governance. The book covers critical issues such as the link between infrastructure investment and Sustainable Development Goals, fighting against corruption in public investment, managing fiscal risks, integrating planning and budgeting, and identifying best practices in project appraisal and selection. It also covers emerging areas in infrastructure governance, such as maintaining and managing public infrastructure assets and building resilience against climate change.
In the wake of COVID-19, infrastructure investment is likely to become even more important. With economic growth turning negative, public investment will have to be part of the economic recovery. At the same time countries will emerge from the pandemic with scarce fiscal space, elevated debt levels, and large financing needs, and therefore a renewed need to make every dollar count to ensure the efficiency of their spending. The new book shows that spending well on infrastructure is as important as spending more. Countries can sharply reduce waste if they have the right infrastructure governance institutions in place.