By Leigh Hartman

The United States, Australia and Japan’s new Blue Dot Network will serve as a globally recognized seal of approval for major infrastructure projects, letting people know that projects are sustainable and not exploitative.

Once fully up and running, the new network will bring together governments, the private sector and other organizations behind a set of high-quality global infrastructure development standards.

The United States “want[s] a transparent, competitive, market-driven system that is mutually beneficial for all involved,” Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo said in October 2019. This stands in contrast to a system based on a state-led economic model, where deals are closed with bribes and fail to account for the needs of local communities.

That’s where the Blue Dot Network comes in.

Here’s how the network will work: Any country or company can participate in the network, as long as it agrees to adhere to the network’s high standards of promoting quality, private sector-led investment. Projects that seek to be certified by the Blue Dot Network will complete an online application.

Countries, companies and local communities will all benefit from the Blue Dot Network. When projects are certified by the Blue Dot Network, communities and investors can be confident about the high standards and sustainability of the infrastructure.

The U.S., Australia and Japan announced the network during the November 4, 2019, Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Bangkok. The initiative aligns with the G20’s Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment, particularly on governance, environmental standards and transparency.

Transparency in global infrastructure

Leading the Blue Dot Network for the United States is the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation. Launched in 2019, DFC has access to $60 billion in capital and modernized financial tools to help businesses invest in emerging markets.

The Blue Dot Network is among several U.S. government efforts to promote high-standard investment and private sector–led economic development, including:

  • The Export-Import Bank, which uses $135 billion to secure loans and provide capital around the world to ensure fair, transparent and sustainable economic growth.
  • The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which uses a competitive process to select which countries to work with on projects to achieve sustainable growth and poverty reduction.

The Blue Dot Network will make America’s high standards of investment and high quality of infrastructure visible to the world. “Our deals come with no hidden strings attached,” Pompeo said in March 2019. “Our contracts are clear, our motives unambiguous.”