Digital and physical infrastructure gaps make Italy less efficient and competitive. PNRR can help.
Improving Italy's "digital posture" it's, first of all, a race in eliminating all the infrastructural gaps that our country has accumulated over the years. Gaps that are certainly related to Digital Tranformation, says now PwC Italia. But also the good old physical infrastructure pose some important issues that must be faced, and quite fast.
In Italy, explains PwC, the gap between current investments in traditional infrastructure and the optimal needs will amount, by 2040, to 373 billion euros (0.73% of national GDP). The sectors most affected by this delay are railways (about 238 billion euros), ports (79 billion) and energy grid (39 billion). An important gap that leads to another, as explained by Andrea Toselli, President and CEO of PwC Italia: "The physical infrastructural gap in our country costs 70 billion euros every year in terms of exports, equal to 15% of the total".
So, better to act fast. For this reason, PNRR allocates a total of 81.4 billion euros (about 22% of what would be needed) for investments in the railway network, road safety, intermodality, integrated logistics, sustainable mobility. All with direct references, in every field, to the digital infrastructures that are used to help the country's evolution.PwC also estimates that PNRR funds will generate various multiplier leverage effects, involveming public and private actors. Thanks to these and other similar effects, PwC forecasts that PNRR will lead to a total of 714 billion euros in investments and over 490 billion euros of added value by 2036.
There is really a lot to do also to fill Italy's digital gap. "In Italian companies, digital intensity is at 60%. It should be at 90%", explains Toselli. PwC underlines that growth forecasts for Italian digital sector are conditioned by PNRR successful implementation. Without it, Italian companies will lose funds and aids for about 50 billion euros, by 2026.
In the most optimistic scenario, Italian digital market will grow to 95 billion euros in 2024, also thanks to Transition 4.0 plan, strengthened by the 2021 State Budget with approximately 24 billion euros linked to the Recovery Plan. PAs, banks, insurance companies and utilities have learned over the last two years that they must invest in technologies to be able to manage any emergency. The issue of SMEs remains: they're still digitally behind their European counterparts.