Recent Economic Development in Infrastructure

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The Democratic Republic of Congo's Infrastructure: A Continental Perspective

2010-03, Foster, Vivien

The Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD) has gathered and analyzed extensive data on infrastructure in around 40 Sub-Saharan countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The results have been presented in reports covering different areas of infrastructure ICT, irrigation, power, transport, water and sanitation and different policy areas, including investment needs, fiscal costs, and sector performance. This report presents the key AICD findings for the DRC, allowing the country's infrastructure situation to be benchmarked against that of its African peers. Given that the DRC is a fragile state trying to catch up with other low-income countries (LICs) in the region, both fragile-state and LIC African benchmarks will be used to evaluate the DRC's situation. Detailed comparisons will also be made with immediate regional neighbors in Central Africa. Several methodological issues should be borne in mind. First, because of the cross-country nature of data collection, a time lag is inevitable. The period covered by the AICD runs from 2001 to 2006. Most technical data presented are for 2006 (or the most recent year available), while financial data are typically averaged over the available period to smooth out the effect of short-term fluctuations. Second, in order to make comparisons across countries, indicators had to be standardized to place the analysis on a consistent basis. This means that some of the indicators presented here may be slightly different from those that are routinely reported and discussed at the country level. During the period from 2001 to 2005, per capita economic growth in DRC was on average 2.1 percent higher than during the period from 1991 to 1995. Despite this improvement, growth levels, which oscillated between 4 and 8 percent in the early 2000s, still fell short of the sustained 7 percent per year needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Improved telecommunications infrastructure has been the main driver of this change, contributing 1.1 percentage points to the country's per capita growth rate. Deficiencies in power infrastructure, on the other hand, held back per capita growth by 0.25 percentage point over this period.