SINGAPORE (Nov 30): Asia-Pacific, more specifically Australia, Singapore and China, are driving momentum interest for infrastructure investment, according to the CMS Infrastructure Index: A New Direction.

CMS is a full-service international law firm and its index ranks 40 jurisdictions in order of infrastructure investment attractiveness according to six key criteria – economic status, sustainability and innovation, tax environment, political stability, ease of doing business, and private participation.

Globally, four of the top 20 spots for investment attractiveness were secured by Asia-Pacific countries, with robust economic growth across the region, ambitious renewables plans, and the world’s largest infrastructure project – China’s Belt & Road - set to reshape the continent’s landscape over the next decade.

Australia came in top in Asia-Pacific with a score of 86.33, while Singapore tailed behind with a score of 86.18.

Both countries continue to benefit from stable and prosperous economies.

Australia’s federal target of 33,000GWh generated from renewable sources by 2020 has led to vast investment in solar and wind projects, while Singapore’s multi-billion-dollar development of Changi Airport’s Terminal 5 and the Tuas shipping megaport will solidify its position as a premier transport and trade hub globally.

Although China placed 20th globally, it came in fourth in Asia-Pacific.

China is primed to become a global engine of investment with close to a trillion dollars expected to flow through the completion of its Belt and Road initiative (BRI) which will continue to deliver on the promised infrastructure boom in Asia.

In addition, changes in the balance of infrastructure investment in the region are likely to be profound given the longevity of this project.

On the other hand, infrastructure has been revolutionised with potential new asset classes emerging. This includes 4G, charging stations, car parks and the likely impact technology.

One such example is the rise of smart roads and smart cities, such as Dubai and Singapore, which are making strides to lead the next wave of digital innovation.

Adrian Wong, partner at CMS Singapore says, “While key success factors like government stability and political certainty cannot be ignored, the potential impact of the Belt and Road Initiative alone promises to stimulate economic growth through the continent and far beyond.”

The Netherlands came in top overall despite a prolonged period with no government, after seeing the highest GDP growth since 2007, and is expected to reach 3.3% in 2017.

The country’s success was partly due to its transparent and efficient procurement process and healthy multi-billion euro pipeline in road and water Public-Private Partnerships (PPP).

Kristy Duane, CMS partner and co-head of Infrastructure & Project Finance in UK says, “The quest for deals has already prompted the industry to explore less mature sectors such as energy storage, broadband, smart meters, as well as student accommodation and rolling stock. It is fascinating to see which countries are leading the way.”