Technology-enabled infrastructure is the latest addition to our thematic priorities as defined in our Corporate Strategy. Established in the digital era, AIIB can play a major role in helping clients transform their infrastructure sectors through innovative technological applications. “Digital everything” will touch all aspects of human activity, from autonomous transport, health care and finance to social activities. The COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt accelerated the shift to digital technology, but it has also exposed major digital divides between and within countries. Many countries have large urban-rural variations in digitization opportunities and users may face patchy or disrupted services. Many governments recognize that digital access is both an economic and a social imperative. Thanks to digitization and new building and engineering techniques, the potential to improve infrastructure efficiency and productivity is vast
. Thus, as part of Infrastructure for Tomorrow, we support projects where applying the best available technologies delivers better value, quality, productivity, efficiency, resilience, sustainability, inclusion, transparency or better governance along the full project life cycle.
When discussing technology for the future, we need to embrace both technology-enabled and digital infrastructure, which complement each other but refer to different things. Technology-enabled infrastructure, a thematic priority of our Corporate Strategy, recognizes the importance of enabling Infrastructure for Tomorrow with prudent technology applications. Digital infrastructure supports the digital economy and consists of hard (connectivity and data infrastructure) and soft (digital platforms and terminals) components.
Technology-enabled infrastructure uses technology to enable Infrastructure for Tomorrow. Technology-enabled infrastructure includes all technologies, not just digital (for example, artificial intelligence, big data, 5G, Internet of Things, virtual reality and augmented reality), but also other engineering, scientific, business and innovative technologies (for example, battery storage, modular construction, new building materials, drones, robotics, 3D printing).
AIIB is investing in the development of technology-enabled infrastructure and financing the application of technology. We do this by leveraging public-private partnerships, working with private capital and encouraging innovation through co-investment vehicles.
As an example, AIIB is investing in an entity that will, in turn, invest in companies that develop technology-enabled infrastructure. Lightsmith Climate Resilience Partners
is a specialist growth private equity fund focusing on global climate resilience technology solutions. The fund makes growth equity investments in technology companies that build resilience to the physical damage and disruption, risk and volatility and resource scarcity resulting from climate change. The fund has the first dedicated private equity investment strategy focused on climate resilience and adaptation technology solutions.
In 2020, we adopted the Digital Infrastructure Sector Strategy
, which defines our investment objectives in hard and soft digital infrastructure and the investment principles that will guide how we prioritize investments. The strategy covers the infrastructure needed to enable the digital economy (mobile towers, fiber networks, data centers, among others) or the use of digital technology to make infrastructure smart (smart energy management or the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to enable traffic management).
AIIB has worked and is working with our members on the following digital infrastructure projects:
- The construction and operation of the first phase of a nationwide fiber broadband network in Oman
- The installation of about 2,000 kilometers of metro and regional fiber-optic backbone networks to provide wider coverage within major cities and across suburban and rural areas in Cambodia
- The construction of a multifunctional satellite that will provide much-needed broadband internet service to more than 45 million people in 149,400 unserved public service points. These areas include schools, hospitals and local government locations in some of the least developed regions of Indonesia.