Communications, water, sewage, power, transport, roads.
Our daily routine relies on an invisible architecture which gets taken for granted, until something goes wrong. We call it infrastructure.
In developed countries, this was put in place over decades in the 19th and 20th century, at incalculable cost by people of vision, conviction and passion. It took immense planning, investment, and political will. It needed determination, in the face of setbacks and criticism,
The health and economic fortunes of families, communities and nations have been turned around by the building of infrastructure. The health and wealth of individuals, communities and nations still depend on it.
In the 21st century, many nations are still desperately in need of investment in infrastructure, in order to transform the fortunes of their countries and their people. But the cost and expertise of providing it is, at this moment, beyond their capacity.
It is also beyond the scope of non government organisations, such as aid agencies, however valuable the work they do.
All the same – in the long-run – a bridge, a fibre-optic cable, a power plant, is just as much of a lifesaver as an anti-malarial bednet or a village school.
These are the invisible means by which people stay healthy, gain education, start businesses, transport goods to new markets, create employment, boost tax revenues, grow economies.
Infrastructure remains the secret of global development – the crucial bridge from poverty to wealth.
It transformed the fortunes of Europe and America in the 19 and 20th century. It offers the potential to transform developing nations across Africa and Asia today.
And that’s why we do what we do.