Short political cycles, short-term investment horizons, a lack of viable financing structures,
inappropriate risk assessment frameworks and a lack of long-term vision mean that much-needed
investment does not flow to infrastructure and development. This results in a US$1 trillion annual
shortfall in infrastructure alone.
As part of the System Initiative on Shaping Long-term Investing, Infrastructure and Development1,
this report – Recycling our Infrastructure for Future Generations – builds on earlier work completed
under the Forum’s Strategic Infrastructure Initiative2and takes a closer look at an emerging approach
to financing new infrastructure, which is known as “asset recycling”.
Insight presented in this report demonstrates that asset recycling in infrastructure has the potential
to significantly increase levels of investment. This is the result of creating alignment with long-term
institutional investors that have a preference for built assets, notably pension funds. Asset recycling
unlocks and directs capital from these investors towards governments’ most critical greenfield
This approach can be particularly valuable in jurisdictions that face difficulties in raising finance for
infrastructure projects due to existing high levels of public debt or the perceived levels of risk of
building new infrastructure.
If successfully implemented, asset recycling can provide governments with a viable route towards
closing the infrastructure investment gap and accelerating national infrastructure programmes to
stay on a path to inclusive economic growth and recovery. It can also allow citizens to invest in
mature local infrastructure through their pension funds, meaningfully diversifying retirement savings
We would like to thank the many World Economic Forum partner companies and other expert
stakeholders that have contributed their expertise and leadership. In particular, we wish to express
our appreciation to Atkins Acuity, a member of the SNC Lavalin Group, for their support and
collaboration in this project and to this report.