Construction workers at sunset

CoST at the US Summit for Democracy: The role of the private sector in Building Back with integrity

This year has seen widespread recognition of the value of infrastructure in meeting pressing global issues, from President Biden’s trillion dollar plan to the G7’s Build Back Better World to the launch of the Blue Dot Network. An estimated US$ 94 trillion of investment is also required up to 2040 to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), however, based on current trends there will be a US$15 trillion “investment gap”.

Given our global challenges, reforming the way infrastructure is delivered has never been more important, particularly by addressing inefficiency, mismanagement and corruption in the sector. These issues are estimated to cause a one-third loss in expenditure, with this figure increasing to 50% in low-income countries.

CoST brings private sector into discussions

Building back better, with integrity, requires tackling corruption as well as putting the human rights of construction workers, affected communities and users of infrastructure at the heart of its delivery. As a side event to the US Summit for Democracy on Wednesday 08 December CoST brought together a high-level panel providing a unique space for business to discuss their role in improving infrastructure integrity, human rights and defending against authoritarianism.

Major international firms reflected on the impact of corruption on business and the users of infrastructure, the challenges ahead and how they can be managed. Stories from Uganda and Mexico told of the key barriers and ways of overcoming a lack of unfair bidding, local content and worker rights.

The discussion will feed into a new private sector supporter scheme we will launch in 2022. The scheme will play a key role in helping companies align their commercial objectives with Democracy Summit goals and the year of action that follows it.


Zlatina Loudjeva, Partner, PwC and CoST Strategic Advisor
Roland de Marcellus, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, International Finance and Development, US Government 
Nina Martin, Deputy Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, Bechtel
Betty Nakamya, President, Ugandan Association of Consulting Engineers
Simon Harrison, Group Head of Strategy, Mott MacDonald
Nicolas Mariscal Torroella, Chair, Marhnos Group, Mexico