Members' Research Service By / January 16, 2023

The Global Gateway: Taking stock after its first year

The current era seems to be one of permanent underinvestment. The global financial and economic crisis, which began in 2008, made financing conditions tighter and budgetary constraints sharper, which had a negative effect on both public and private investment globally.

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Written by Marcin Szczepański.

The global investment gap between high-income and low- and middle-income countries has been widening in recent years, even more so in the aftermath of the double crisis caused by the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This divergence and underfunding are also negatively affecting global connectivity, which requires substantial financial resources for both its expansion and its maintenance. This is important for recovery from the current crisis, as the modern world is based on multifaceted links between communities, economies and countries, and connectivity is known to contribute to economic growth, supply chain efficiency and resilience to shocks.

Since 2015, the EU has been making efforts to narrow this investment gap and support global connectivity, not least to counter the influence of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. However, experts considered EU assistance and investments to be fragmented, leading to inefficiencies, gaps and overlaps. Taking into account this and the growing importance of connectivity, made clear by the pandemic, the EU launched its Global Gateway strategy on 1 December 2021. Its worldwide scope is not limited to selected regions or countries.

The strategy promises to mobilise up to €300 billion in investment to boost smart, clean and secure digital, energy and transport links and strengthen health, education and research systems across the world. Perhaps the most significant initiative so far has been the launch of the first regional Global Gateway Africa-Europe Investment Package in February 2022. Other deliverables include the signing of international agreements and the inauguration of the first infrastructure projects.

Many think tanks and experts have welcomed the Global Gateway as an attempt to boost efficiency, coherence and strategic drive in the EU’s connectivity and investment policies. Opinions are divided, however, on whether sufficient funding can be mobilised and it remains to be seen if the Team Europe approach, bringing together the EU, financial institutions and Member States, will deliver.

Read the complete briefing on ‘The Global Gateway: Taking stock after its first year‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Poorer countries attract less private investment in infrastructure and see a dip in the number of projects funded

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