February 8 - Leaders from many of the biggest infrastructure projects in the world, including the GBP50 billion Plan Nord project in Canada, the GBP16 billion UK Crossrail scheme, the GBP12 billion Rio/S

Geoffrey Spence, chief executive of UK Infrastructure - the body responsible for coordinating some GBP200 billion of infrastructure investment into Britain over the next five years - will deliver the keynote speech at the Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum, for which HLPFI is an official media partner.

The opening reception is to be held at Mansion House, sending out a symbolic message of the significance in which the UK regards infrastructure investment.

Major local sponsors include BT Global ServicesBLP law firm and Norman Foster + Partners. Countries including Australia, Canada, Brazil, Russia and more than 30 others have thrown their weight behind the forum in a bid to cement relations with some of the most powerful players in the global infrastructure space.

The conference follows a recent report released by CG/LA Infrastructure which has identified a worrying GBP3.0 trillion shortfall in worldwide infrastructure investment in the period to 2015, far below estimated demand of almost GBP6.0 trillion.

Given that infrastructure has been identified as a major catalyst for encouraging economic growth, the gap between demand and actual investment will undoubtedly be a hot topic at the conference.

The decision to host the conference in London places the city as the epicentre of the infrastructure world, a move that will sit well with the Government following the Chancellor's Autumn Statement last year which identified infrastructure investment as crucial to Britain's immediate and long-term economic growth.

The conference will see presentations from more than 50 leading infrastructure sponsors around the world, including financing from public sponsors such as the African Development BankCAF, the Development Bank of Latin America, the Inter-American Development BankVnesheconombank, the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), the China Development Bank and Crossrail.

CG/LA Infrastructure CEO Norman F. Anderson said: "We are delighted to have Geoffrey Spence addressing the Forum, a symbol that the event is must-attend for organisations with any interest in UK infrastructure. We are delighted with the level of interest this year, with more than 40 of the world's largest projects are presenting. The fact that it is in London has led to even greater interest, especially from the financial sector.

"A key topic for discussion will inevitably revolve around the shortfall in global investment. At a time with the global economy is limping out of a downturn, the gap between the need for infrastructure investment and actual spend is colossal, and growing."