Africa’s economic growth and poverty reduction are closely linked with the quality of its infrastructure – its power, transport systems, water supply and sanitation, and its ICT networks. In the current economic climate, finding the financial resources for Africa’s huge infrastructure needs is an enormous challenge.
But without those resources, African governments will find it very difficult to catch up with other regions of the world. The continent’s institutions and international partners must work together to overcome this challenge – and quickly.
When I think about infrastructure in Africa, I am both encouraged and concerned. The percentage of African people living within the range of mobile phone service rose from 5 percent in 1999 to 57 percent in 2006. More than 100 million plus Africans became mobile phone subscribers in the same period. Around 80 percent of Africa‘s main road network is in good or fair condition. Yet, I think about all the women and children in Africa who walk over 2 kilometers to their primary water supply. Thirty African countries experience chronic power outages and around 560 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to modern energy. Because only one in four Africans has access to electricity, I think about the children who are forced to study by candlelight or the hospitals that can’t refrigerate medicines properly.
Investments in infrastructure are now more important than ever. They can help stimulate the economy, remove bottlenecks to long-term growth, and create jobs. Better infrastructure could increase productivity of business by as much as 40%. In the last decade the telecommunication revolution contributed to half of Africa‘s improved growth performance; however, during the same period, deficiencies in power infrastructure impeded growth dramatically.
Source: Modern Ghana