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PublicationInfrastructure in Latin America : Recent Developments and Key Challenges, Volume 1(Washington, DC, 2005-08) Morrison, Mary; Fay, MarianneIn the last decade, most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have not spent enough on infrastructure. Total investment has fallen as a percentage of GDP, as public infrastructure expenditure has borne the brunt of fiscal adjustment, and private investment has failed to take up the slack. Most infrastructure services have therefore lagged behind East Asian comparators, middle income countries in general and China, in terms of both coverage and quality, despite the generally positive impacts of private sector involvement. This lackluster performance has slowed the LAC region's economic growth and progress in poverty reduction. Countries of the region therefore need to focus on upgrading their infrastructure, as this can yield great dividends in terms of growth, competitiveness and poverty reduction, as well as improving the quality of life of their citizens. Catching up requires significant new investment. But first, measures need to be taken to ensure that infrastructure spending produces higher returns, both economic and social. Both these tasks involve multiple challenges. The first section of the main report reviews progress made in infrastructure coverage and quality and discusses the impacts this has had on growth, competitiveness and the fight against poverty. The second section argues that the main issue has been that there has not been enough improvement in the management of resources, which have been insufficient anyway, and also reviews the region's experiences with private participation in infrastructure. The third section builds on the lessons of the last decade to tackle the key challenges: improving social and economic returns from infrastructure, managing private participation in infrastructure better and raising new finance for infrastructure.