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Big Cities, Big Opportunities

One of the biggest drivers of global infrastructure is the rapid rate of urbanization experienced in the developing world.

The reason is simple – roughly 70 million people per year in developing countries are moving to cities, so there will need to be more roads, water systems, housing and electrical generation.

Nowhere is this trend more apparent than in China, which already has 100 cities with more than 1 million people. It is expected to eventually have 30 cities with more than 10 million people.

As you can see in the chart from UBS, Asia will be the main source of this urban growth. The United Nations says that over 1 billion Asian people will move to urban areas by 2030. Another 500 million people are expected to migrate to urban areas in Africa.

While this trend has picked up in pace in recent years, the growth of urban centers in the developing world has already been an established trend. Of the 20 largest urban areas in the world in 2005, only four were in the developed world (Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles and Osaka, Japan). 

The infrastructure build-out truly is a global opportunity. As much of the infrastructure focus in the developed world centers around repair and replacement, the focus in the developing world is around providing people with basic needs taken for granted by many of us.

We believe emerging-market governments that commit to ambitious infrastructure programs will be the ones with the best economic growth prospects in the coming years.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor. #09-740