Poor infrastructure costs Africa a 2% growth rate

If all African countries were to catch up with the best infrastructure, per capita growth rate could increase by 2.2 percent, according the latest World Bank report. The report dubbed ‘Infrastructure in Africa’ indicates that infrastructure services are twice as expensive as elsewhere in the world, reflecting both diseconomies of scale in production and high profit margins caused by lack of competition.
a bulldozer at a raod construction site in Kigali (File photo)
a bulldozer at a raod construction site in Kigali (File photo)

If all African countries were to catch up with the best infrastructure, per capita growth rate could increase by 2.2 percent, according the latest World Bank report.

The report dubbed ‘Infrastructure in Africa’ indicates that infrastructure services are twice as expensive as elsewhere in the world, reflecting both diseconomies of scale in production and high profit margins caused by lack of competition.

Cecilia Briceno Garmendia, Senior Infrastructure Economist African region at the World Bank told a media workshop in Johannesburg  on Friday that poor infrastructure reduces businesses productivity by 40 percent and holds back the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

He said infrastructure challenges vary greatly as fragile states face more burdens.

In Rwanda the challenge is the hilly topography that is reflected in high transport and construction costs.

Experts say that the infrastructure cluster also fails to deliver due to pervasive red tape and struggles to keep pace with rapid urbanization.

According to Briceno Garmendia, infrastructure in Africa lags behind other developing countries despite its critical role to growth.

The report highlights challenges under energy sector which is the most challenge towards infrastructure growth in Africa.

Some of the challenges include inadequate capacity to generate power that has been stagnant for 20 years and expensive power.

They also include lack of power trade to reduce costs and facilitate a shift to cleaner hydro, inefficient power utilities in Africa as well lack of subsidies to the energy sector.

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