The Arena das Dunas World Cup stadium in Natal, in northeast Brazil shimmers in the late afternoon sun. It looks a bit like a giant silver-plated armadillo or, as one local put it, like a spaceship that’s crash-landed in the middle of the city.

President Dilma Rousseff stopped off here this week, en route to the World Economic Forum in Davos, for the stadium’s inauguration. It has come in on budget, according to the government, at around R$400m, so Rousseff was keen to big it up. Continue reading »

Forget the domestic market – look overseas. That seems to be the message from Larsen and Toubro (L&T), India’s largest infrastructure company by sales.

And the slowdown in the domestic economy is not only pushing business abroad but also putting pressure on L&T, as management cut its target for the current fiscal year. Continue reading »

By Richard Dobbs and Fraser Thompson of the McKinsey Global Institute

By 2030, nearly half of the world’s economies could be resource rich countries. It is vital for the future economic prospects of these countries – and to satisfy the world’s need for their resources – that they do better than many have done in the past in translating their sub-soil wealth into long-term prosperity. Continue reading »

For much of their history, the economies of Latin America have been isolated not only from the rest of the world but also form each other. Over the past quarter century, this has changed and the region now has the opportunity to embark on a virtual circle of development. But to realise this potential, governments must still deal with daunting challenges, writes Juan Carlos Echeverry of the Inter-American Development Bank. Continue reading »

By Nicholas Watson of bne

Road construction in the Czech Republic has long been a murky business. But insiders grumble that new depths for the industry have been plumbed following a barrage of criticism aimed at plans to renovate the country’s main D1 motorway and revelations from Prague city that the contract to build the now almost-complete €1.3bn Blanka tunnel complex was legally questionable from the start. Continue reading »

China’s local-government infrastructure initiatives are notoriously poor revenue generators. Toll roads may be the worst offenders.

Provincial debts to fund expressways – China’s motorways, most of which require drivers to pay a toll – have surged by 37 per cent since 2010, according to China’s latest National Audit Office report in June. But just as these loans have mushroomed, they have become harder to finance. Continue reading »

Are Nigeria’s pension funds ready to step up to the plate and help finance the country’s development? Policy makers hope they will grow out of their conservative approach of buying government paper and take advantage of recent changes designed to encourage them into new alternative asset classes, including private equity and infrastructure funds.

“Our pension funds are young,” says Olusegun Aganga, trade and industry minister. “We’ve not had them for a very long time so it is natural that there is a conservative way of looking at things.” But having built up a capital base of around $20bn (from $2bn in 2004), they are ready to do more, the minister hopes. Continue reading »

By Nicholas Watson of bne

Europe may be in the doldrums, but some large infrastructure projects, crucially backed by multilateral lenders and export credit agencies, look set to give Emerging Europe’s economies a fillip over the next couple of years.

“The outlook for infrastructure projects is better, definitely we’ve seen a better start in 2013 and that will continue in 2014,” says Werner Weihs-Raabl, head of infrastructure finance at Erste Bank Group. “Romania and Croatia, for example, are building realistic projects; a few years ago it was rather castles in the sky.” Continue reading »

Fernando Núñez Fábrega, Panama’s foreign minister, is on a trip to Britain this week. The point of the visit is to sign his country’s 25th double taxation treaty. But he is likely to find people more interested in his views on Chinese plans to build a rival to Panama’s canal in another Central American nation. So, before he left, beyondbrics asked him what he thought. Continue reading »

Edward Snowden must be getting a lot of sympathy in China, at least among those fed up with being stranded at airports. Delayed flights are a common experience and it’s getting worse. Why is it so hard to get flights on time in China?

Airport outrage has exploded into more and more violent encounters between passengers and airport staff. Click here for a video showing one recent example from Beijing Airport. Continue reading »

By Eduardo Garcia and Pan Kwan Yuk

It’s the big bazooka that many have been waiting for. With Mexico’s economy posting a lacklustre start to the year, economists have been counting on a pick-up in government spending to help pick up the slack.

And open its wallet the government did. On Monday, President Enrique Peña Nieto unveiled a long-awaited 1.3tn peso ($102bn) investment plan to upgrade the country’s transportation and telecommunications infrastructures. Continue reading »

It’s a busy time for Nigerian finance ministry officials. This week they celebrated the launch of eurobonds worth $1bn. On Monday they’re off to China to sign off on $3bn of loans from the government in Beijing.

What’s with all the borrowing? In a word: infrastructure. Continue reading »

Nicaragua’s Congress recently granted a 50-year concession to a little-known Chinese businessman to develop a new waterway that will rival the Panama Canal. The FT’s Kathrin Hille sits down with Wang Jing, founder and chief executive of HKND, to talk about his plans and whether his $40bn project is a way for the Chinese government’s ambitions to extend its influence.

By Melvin Glapion of Kroll Advisory Solutions

Investors are still finding substantial opportunities in African transport and utilities infrastructure. However, the political environment in Africa requires close attention and specialist assessment. African democratisation is very real, with the one-party state increasingly the exception, rather than the rule. Most African countries have transitioned, or are transitioning, towards some form of participatory democracy.

But this has not necessarily led to a more stable investment environment. Continue reading »

As vehicle ownership climbs, Deborah Bonello reports on the Mexican capital’s battle to curb car use. Activists such as the masked El Peatónito (Little Pedestrian) are pressing for a cultural shift and a radical improvement in public transport.