We are thoroughly used to the idea of infrastructure finance being the driving force of emerging market investment. Hundreds of billions of dollars will be spent building Asian roads, power stations and telecommunications systems in the coming decades. Time was when funding came from governments both at home and abroad with help from supra-national bodies like the World Bank. No more. The sweeping tide of privatisation and giant private sector capital flows means countries increasingly look to markets for funding. The Asia-Pacific has grabbed combined public and private sector borrowing of about US$45 billion over the past decade, out-stripping the rest of the developing world. That's a giant number and you will find few dissenters to the idea that it will get bigger. Indeed, economists argue that newly industrialised countries will increasingly derive economic growth from infrastructure development neglected in the early export driven phase of their take-off. Countries like China increasingly see the economic costs of poor infrastructure planning in the shape of huge bottlenecks, hindering the distribution of goods and services and ultimately economic growth. Yet, last year proved something of a reality check for borrowers who had grown accustomed to raising cash on easy terms. World Bank figures suggest the volume of project financing slowed, although it adds a caveat that transactions' inherent 'lumpiness' makes it difficult to draw clear inferences. Over the past decade the financial infrastructure has been developed to funnel money into project finance via direct bank and bond market borrowing. Matching risk and reward is never straight forward but the modelling is in place. The uncertainty faced by project sponsors range from regulatory risks to the possibility of non-payment or even nationalisation. It is clear that private capital alone cannot be relied upon to fully fund the developing world's infrastructure needs. Indirect government funding through export credit agencies have been critical in drawing public money. Latest figures indicate that the vast majority of large loan syndications have been covered by export credit guarantees. The problem with all lending related data for infrastructure projects is the difference between committed and realised investment. Countries like Canada, France, Britain and the United States have introduced project finance departments within their export credit agencies. The difference is striking. The World Bank cites a Turkish electric dam project, whose first tranche of debt was not guaranteed and cost 230 basis points over the London interbank offered rate (Libor). The second, supported by European government guarantees, was completed for 100 basis points over Libor. Left alone, corporations and banks are unwilling to take the pure financing risk entailed in most projects. Yet when guarantees are not available evidence suggests countries with liberalised pricing regimes are more likely to attract funds. What's more, the World Bank estimates that efficiency gains from privatisation are equal to about a quarter of the annual cost of infrastructure building in developing countries. Before heading to New York or London on fund raising roadshows, borrowers should remember saving begins at home.