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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Jump-starting infrastructure investment in Germany: what role for public private partnerships?

Alexandra Zeitz (Global Economic Governance Programme, University of Oxford)

Speaker: Jeromin Zettelmeyer, Director-General, Economic Policy, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany
Chair: David Vines, Department of Economics, University of Oxford

Germany is considering restructuring how it finances domestic infrastructure. This is of interest to non-Germans too, since infrastructure spending could eat into some of Germany’s 8% current account surplus, helping to correct the macroeconomic imbalances currently plaguing Europe.

But while that might be a pleasant side effect, that’s not the German motivation for this investigation. Instead, Germany wants to rejuvenate its domestic infrastructure, some of which is languishing after municipalities’ spending on construction and maintenance dropped to an all-time low.

In May, Jeromin Zettelmeyer, currently Director-General of the Economic Policy unit at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy in Germany, delivered an excellent PEFM seminar on strategies for fuelling infrastructure investment in Germany.

In the World Economic Forum’s 2014-2015 competitiveness rankings, Germany’s infrastructure ranks 7th globally, ahead of France (8), the UK (10), the USA (12) and Canada (15). But a gap has accumulated between the desired and actual infrastructure stocks: the German infrastructure is in some cases not meeting the public or the economy’s needs.