Exploring the need for a nimbler way to bring electricity to poor, hard-to-reach communities, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reflects on the wider shift in how the world is thinking about delivering urgently needed infrastructure in a high-tech era.

The article highlights the Taskforce’s Infra 3.0 paper, which urges a more efficient and resilient approach to infrastructure. Such a shift would look at more decentralised and digitised approaches, focused on services rather than physical assets such as roads, ports or power lines.

Targeting the end result, whether transport, clean water or energy, would free up thinking on the best ways to provide green and affordable infrastructure, and how to harness the power of new technologies and natural ecosystems, said Taskforce Chair, Jeremy Oppenheim, founder of economic advisory firm SYSTEMIQ.

The Infra 3.0 paper finds that the $2.5 trillion annual gap between what the world needs to spend on infrastructure and what it is investing could be cut by $1 trillion through making infrastructure more productive and delivering services in a physically light way.