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Featured News $480b tropical infrastructure deficit by 2030: Inaugural International Tropics Day highlights northern Australia export opportunities

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Wed, 29 Jun 2016

$480b tropical infrastructure deficit by 2030: Inaugural International Tropics Day highlights northern Australia export opportunities

Today the world celebrates the inaugural International Day of the Tropics, with new data revealing the tremendous potential and opportunities for northern Australia, the region, and beyond.

Today the world celebrates the inaugural International Day of the Tropics, with new data revealing the tremendous potential and opportunities for northern Australia, the region, and beyond.

Earlier this month, the United Nations decided the annual International Day of the Tropics would be held on the 29th of June. The Day helps shine a light on the significant opportunities and challenges faced by nations of the Tropics, and the global implications of the rapid changes that the region is experiencing. 

The Day is being celebrated exactly two years after the launch of the inaugural State of the Tropics* report, the first major output of the project, which is convened by James Cook University (JCU) and draws on the expertise of leading institutions from around the world.

New analysis by State of the Tropics reveals the urban population of the Tropics growing at a dramatic rate, and faster than the rest of the world:

  • Analysis of urbanisation rates by State of the Tropics shows that between 2010 and 2014, around 80,000 people were either born in, or moved to, tropical cities every day – almost twice the rate of urbanisation compared to the rest of the world.
  • The Tropics already has more than 3.1 billion residents (42% of the global population) and it is growing faster than the rest of the world. 
  • By 2050, more than two-thirds of the world’s children under 15 years of age will be living in the Tropics.

State of the Tropics analysis reveals significant challenges and investment opportunities ahead. The growth in essential infrastructure in the Tropics hasn’t kept pace with population growth:

  • Analysis by State of the Tropics reveals that in the Tropics, at least $32 billion (AUS) needs to be spent every year to achieve the United Nation’s sustainable development goals to deliver universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene globally by 2030. In total, at least $480 billion needs to be invested by 2030. 
  • The required investment in energy, communications, roads and ports will be much greater. It’s estimated that 75% of the global infrastructure required by 2050 hasn’t yet been built.
  • In 2012, only 71% of people living in the Tropics had access to reliable electricity (mostly in rural areas). 
  • Since 2010 there have only been small improvements in access to sanitation, water and reliable electricity in the tropics. 

JCU Vice Chancellor, Professor Sandra Harding said the International Day of the Tropics is a significant opportunity for northern Australia to better engage with what will soon be the most populous and important region of the world – the Tropics.

“Australia, as the developed country with the largest tropical landmass, has a lot to share as well as to learn.

“There is great value in explicitly identifying northern Australia with the global Tropics, as it clearly situates the north of Australia in one of the most dynamic and critical regions of the world.” 

The Tropics currently account for 20% of global economic output and that output is growing at a faster rate than the rest of the world. 

The sum of the world’s tropical economies is projected to reach $40 trillion by 2025; 20 times Australia’s projected GDP. 

It is estimated that 25–30 per cent of the forecast economic growth of the Tropics will be spent on importing goods and services, and even more on developing new industries. 

“Northern Australia – and Queensland in particular – has the very good fortune to lie at the intersection of the two great zones of global growth: the Asian zone and the Tropical zone, which was revealed in full colour through the State of the Tropics 2014 Report. 

“There are significant opportunities for northern Australia with its expertise in tropical health and medicine; infrastructure development; international education; biosecurity, and environmental, marine and coastal management,” Prof Harding said.

Video:

High-resolution video grabs of Prof. Harding for TV/online are available at:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/s7i3l20bcwi6eqa/AACk4kXr1Cd5_GLTbzwPmP5ma?dl=0

Background:

*The State of the Tropics project is convened by JCU and draws on the expertise of leading institutions from around the world. On June 29th 2014 the project’s first major output - the inaugural State of the Tropics 2014 report - was released.

The groundbreaking report confirmed the great demographic, environmental and geopolitical significance of the region. For more information about the ongoing project, participating institutions, and updated data please visit State of the Tropics.

The annual International Day of the Tropics provides an annual opportunity to take stock of progress across the Tropics, to share tropical stories and expertise, and to acknowledge the diversity and potential of tropical nations.

Contacts

For interviews or more information please contact:

Richard Davis

Head of Media & Communications, JCU

richard.davis@jcu.edu.au

+61 (0)413 451 475