Question 4. Why is infrastructure important in the Pacific?

  • Infrastructure is a vital contributor to economic growth and improved standards of living in every society.  Its quality and quantity are substantial determinants of an economy’s productivity and competitiveness and of living standards such as access to water supply and sanitation, electricity, transportation and communication services.
  • Infrastructure, economic development and social services are intrinsically linked. Infrastructure helps ensure people can access basic needs and services such as water, food sources, employment, schools and hospitals. It also provides the platform for most economic activities including, access to resources, markets and trade opportunities. 
  • The need for basic infrastructure is high in many PICs.  In some Pacific countries, up to 60 per cent of the population has no access to safe drinking water; up to 70 per cent has no sanitation services and up to 85 per cent has no access to electricity. 
  • Access to basic infrastructure and services can significantly benefit poor and low income families.  For example, access to electricity means that children can study at home in the evenings and teachers can prepare the next day’s class; reliable roads mean that people can access employment, education and health services, and farmers can take their produce to market.
  • Investments in infrastructure improvements will contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Long-term infrastructure projects can ensure local employment and a consistent and reliable flow of work for the local private sector.  Good infrastructure is also attractive to foreign investors whose investment in countries can provide further opportunities for employment and economic growth.