Infrastructure Development

In many low-income Commonwealth countries, as in the rest of the developing world, there is a large infrastructure gap. Existing infrastructure is incapable of meeting the demands of growing populations and is a major constraint to economic and social development. Without significant infrastructure development, this will only get worse as demands for services rise with economic growth and rapid urbanisation.

The provision of adequate infrastructure is one of the necessary conditions for sustainable economic and social development. While some infrastructure deficits such as poor access to water and sanitation directly impact on development, other deficits such as limited access to electricity result in missed economic opportunities and in increased production and transaction costs, reduced competitiveness of businesses, and negative impacts on foreign direct investment flows. This consequently impacts on overall development.

Poor transport, communications and energy infrastructures must be addressed in order to promote the Commonwealth’s socio-economic development and integration into the global economy. The Commonwealth accounts for one third of the global population and yet only 14 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product is generated by Commonwealth members, largely due to the lack of infrastructure.

Our publications and events cover infrastructure priorities including energy, transport, ICTs and water resources - including the planning, financing and implementing of infrastructure programmes. We also focus on urbanisation - one of the most significant global trends - as it will have a massive impact on the Commonwealth’s ability to develop sustainably. The UN predicts that there will be 1.2 billion people in cities in the Commonwealth by 2025, as such the Commonwealth’s sustainable development will be driven by – or thwarted by – the way we manage urbanisation and urban development.

We want to establish a common vision and help to build the global partnerships that are needed to put in place adequate, cost effective and sustainable infrastructure across the Commonwealth

Did you know:

  • Half of the top 20 global emerging cities are in the Commonwealth: New Delhi, Mumbai, Nairobi, Kuala Lumpur, Bangalore, Johannesburg, Kolkata, Cape Town, Chennai and Dhaka.

  • Over 645 million Africans have no access to electricity.

  • Power consumption per capita in Sub-Saharan Africa is the lowest of all continents, currently estimated at 181 kWh per annum, compared to 13,000 kWh in the United States.

  • Energy-sector bottlenecks and power shortages are estimated to cost Africa some 2 - 4 per cent of GDP annually, undermining economic growth, employment creation and investment.

Source: Commonwealth Secretariat. See more at