Recent Economic Development in Infrastructure

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Cameroon's Infrastructure: A Continental Perspective

2011-06, Dominguez-Torres, Carolina, Foster, Vivien

Better access to improved infrastructure services is an important engine for economic growth. The poor state of infrastructure is a key bottleneck to growth in African countries, and Cameroon is no exception. Between 2000 and 2005, improvements in information and communication technologies boosted Cameroon's growth performance by 1.26 percentage points per capita, while deficient power infrastructure held growth back by 0.28 percentage points. If Cameroon could improve its infrastructure to the level of the middle-income countries of Africa, the growth effect could be on the order of 3.3 percentage points. Cameroon has made significant progress in many aspects of infrastructure. Across a broad range of sectors, the country has made serious efforts to implement institutional reforms with a view to attracting private sector investment. Private sector concessions have been awarded for the Port of Douala, the CAMRAIL railway, the national power utility, and the national water utility (CDE). These arrangements have generally led to performance improvements and attracted significant volumes of finance. Power supply remains expensive and unreliable. Cameroon needs to accelerate the development of some of its prime hydropower sites, which would greatly improve the domestic power situation and potentially allow Cameroon to play its natural role as hydropower exporter to the Central African Power Pool. Cameroon's information and communication technology (ICT) reform remains frozen at an early stage. The telecom incumbent, CAMTEL, remains state-owned and receives substantial public subsidy. The mobile sector is relatively uncompetitive, operating as a duopoly. Moreover, while Cameroon enjoys access to a submarine cable, CAMTEL's monopoly control over the international gateway has prevented consumers from benefiting.

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Burkina Faso's Infrastructure: A Continental Perspective

2011-05, Briceño-Garmendia, Cecilia, Domínguez-Torres, Carolina

Infrastructure contributed 1.3 percentage points to Burkina Faso's annual per capita gross domestic product (GDP) growth over the past decade, much of it due to improvements in information and communication technology (ICT). Raising the country's infrastructure endowment to that of the region's middle-income countries (MICs) could boost annual growth by more than 3 percentage points per capita.Today, Burkina Faso's infrastructure indicators look relatively good when compared with other low-income countries (LICs) in Africa. Burkina Faso has made significant progress in developing its infrastructure in recent years. The rapid modernization of the ICT sector, around 60 percent of the population lives within range of a global system for mobile communications (GSM) cell-phone signal. The expansion of safe water and sanitation technologies in urban areas since the late 1990s and the establishment of a system for funding road maintenance (by reducing the cost of road travel) should pay long-term dividends to the economy. The Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD) has gathered and analyzed extensive data on infrastructure across almost all African countries, including Burkina Faso. The results have been presented in reports covering different areas of infrastructure including ICT, irrigation, power, transport and water and sanitation and various policy areas, including investment needs, fiscal costs, and sector performance.

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Zimbabwe's Infrastructure: A Continental Perspective

2011-03, Pushak, Nataliya, Briceño-Garmendia, Cecilia M.

Despite general economic decline and power supply deficiencies, infrastructure made a modest net contribution of less than half a percentage point to Zimbabwe's improved per capita growth performance in recent years. Raising the country's infrastructure endowment to that of the region's middle-income countries could boost annual growth by about 2.4 percentage points. Zimbabwe made significant progress in infrastructure in its early period as an independent state. The country managed to put in place a national electricity network and establish regional interconnection in the power sector; to build an extensive network of roads for countrywide accessibility and integration into the regional transport corridors; to lay the water and sewerage system; and to make progress on building dams and tapping the significant irrigation potential. Unfortunately, at present the cross-cutting issue across all these sectors is Zimbabwe's inability to maintain and rehabilitate the existing infrastructure since the country became immersed in economic and political turmoil in the late 1990s. Neglect of all sectors due to the crisis has resulted in a generalized lack of new investment (in the power and water sectors in particular), and the accumulation of a huge rehabilitation agenda. Quality of service has declined across the board. The power system has become unjustifiably costly, inefficient, and unreliable. The condition of roads has deteriorated to the point that Zimbabwe became a bottleneck on the North-South transport corridor. Rural connectivity hardly exists. Failure to treat potable water, along with the deterioration of the water, sanitation, and garbage disposal systems, was responsible for the spread of cholera in 2008. By 2010 cholera affected most areas of the country and posed a health threat to neighboring countries. Looking ahead, Zimbabwe faces a number of important infrastructure challenges. Zimbabwe's most pressing challenges lie in the power and water sectors. Inefficient and unreliable power supply poses major risks to the economy, while the maintenance and upgrading of existing power infrastructure no longer looks to be affordable. At the same time, overhauling the water and sewerage system is imperative for curbing the public health crisis.

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Cape Verde's Infrastructure: A Continental Perspective

2010-08, Briceno-Garmendia, Cecilia M., Benitez, Daniel Alberto

The Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD) has gathered and analyzed extensive data on infrastructure in more than 40 Sub-Saharan countries, including Cape Verde. The results have been presented in reports covering several sectors—ICT, irrigation, power, transport, water and sanitation— and various policy areas, including investment needs, fiscal costs, and sector performance. This report presents the key AICD findings for Cape Verde, allowing the country’s infrastructure situation to be benchmarked against that of its African peers. Given that Cape Verde is a relatively well- off middle-income country, its performance will be benchmarked against that of other middle-income countries in Africa. Detailed comparisons will also be made with immediate regional neighbors in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and where relevant, with other island states that face a similar set of infrastructure challenges.

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Mali Infrastructure: A Continental Perspective

2011-06, Briceno-Garmendia, Cecilia M, Dominguez, Carolina, Pushak, Nataliya

In recent years Mali's economy has grown steadily at a rate of more than 5 percent per year, driven by developments in gold mining, cereal harvests, and telecommunications. Mali's landlocked condition, together with its very uneven distribution of both population and economic activities between the arid north and the much richer south, challenge the country's ability to sustain this pace of growth. These two aspects define and challenge Mali's development and the infrastructure agendas. The country's strategic focus on the regional agenda has paid off to date, and critical institutional decisions are bringing many positive developments. More than 80 percent of Mali's segments of the West Africa road corridors are maintained in good or fair condition, giving the principal production areas of the south alternative access to the deep-water ports of Dakar, Adidjan, Takoradi, Tema, and Lome. Air transport security has improved, supported by the refurbishment of local airports, including Bamako airport, and the restructuring of Mali's Civil Aviation Authority to increase its autonomy and guarantee harmonization of air transportation rules across West Africa. Mali has also successfully liberalized its mobile telephone markets, with access approaching 40 percent in 2008. Roaming agreements and cross country competition have kept mobile prices low. Access to electricity in Mali more than doubled in the last decade, helped by the introduction of an apparently successful program for rural electrification (AMADER) that widened access to more than 36,000 rural households.

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The Central African Republic's Infrastructure: A Continental Perspective

2011-05, Domínguez-Torres, Carolina, Foster, Vivien

Between 2000 and 2005 infrastructure made a modest net contribution of less than one percentage point to the improved per capita growth performance of the Central African Republic (CAR), despite high expenses in the road sector. Raising the country's infrastructure endowment to that of the region's middle-income countries could boost annual growth by about 3.5 percentage points. Assuming that the inefficiencies are fully captured, comparing spending needs against existing spending and potential efficiency gains leaves an annual funding gap of $183 million per year. By far the largest gap exists in transport. The CAR has the potential to close this gap by raising additional public funding for infrastructure from increased fiscal receipts of various kinds. Furthermore, the CAR has not captured as much private finance for infrastructure (measured as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, or GDP) as many of its neighbors. This scope for improvement, coupled with the prospect of an economic rebound and prudent policies, could lift the country from it fragile state back to and beyond the prosperity standards it once enjoyed.

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Angola's Infrastructure: A Continental Perspective

2011-03-01, Pushak, Nataliya, Foster, Vivien

The Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD) has gathered and analyzed extensive data on infrastructure in more than 40 Sub-Saharan countries, including Angola. The results have been presented in reports covering different areas of infrastructure-information and communication technology (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 Angola, allowing the country's infrastructure situation to be benchmarked against that of its African peers. Given that Angola is a low-income resource-rich country, two sets of African benchmarks will be used to evaluate Angola's situation: fragile low-income countries and resource-rich countries. Detailed comparisons will also be made with immediate regional neighbors in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). 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 for Angola runs from 2005 to 2009. But financial data for comparator countries typically cover an earlier period, 2001-06, and are averaged to smooth out fluctuations, while technical data are reported for 2006. In recent years, Angola's economy has been among the fastest growing in Africa. Looking ahead, the country's gross development product (GDP) is projected to rise by 6.5 percent in 2011, with oil-sector growth of 3.8 percent and nonoil- sector growth of 8.1 percent (IMF 2011). A 27-year war that ended in 2002 ravaged the country and destroyed most of its economic infrastructure. Many roads, rails, and bridges were mined and obliterated; surviving infrastructure is dilapidated after years of neglect.

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Mozambique's Infrastructue: A Continental Perspective

2011-06, Dominguez-Torres, Carolina, Briceno-Garmendia, Cecilia

This study is a product of the Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD), a project designed to expand the world's knowledge of physical infrastructure in Africa. The AICD provides a baseline against which future improvements in infrastructure services can be measured, making it possible to monitor the results achieved from donor support. It also offers a solid empirical foundation for prioritizing investments and designing policy reforms in Africa's infrastructure sectors. The AICD is based on an unprecedented effort to collect detailed economic and technical data on African infrastructure. The project has produced a series of original reports on public expenditure, spending needs, and sector performance in each of the main infrastructure sectors, including energy, information and communication technologies, irrigation, transport, and water and sanitation. This report presents the key AICD findings for Mozambique, allowing the country's infrastructure situation to be benchmarked against that of its African peers. Given that Mozambique is poor but stable country, two sets of African benchmarks will be used to evaluate its situation: those for non fragile Low Income Countries (LICs) and those for Middle-Income Countries (MICs). Detailed comparisons will also be made with immediate regional neighbors in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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Niger's Infrastructure: A Continental Perspective

2011-05-01, Domínguez-Torres, Carolina, Foster, Vivien

Between 2000 and 2005 infrastructure made a net contribution of only 0.3 percentage points to the improved per capita growth performance of Niger, one of the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Raising the country's infrastructure endowment to that of the region's middle-income countries (MICs) could boost annual growth by about 4.5 percentage points, mainly by improving the condition of the road network. Niger has made significant progress in some areas of its infrastructure. Important reforms liberalizing the water supply and information and communication technology (ICT) sectors have boosted performance. In particular, reforms in urban water are among the most promising on the continent. Increased competition in the ICT market has contributed to the rapid expansion of mobile services. NIGELEC, the national power utility, has enhanced its performance. The Nigerien portions of regional corridors are in relatively good or fair condition. Air transport connectivity has improved. Niger has the potential to close this funding gap by tapping alternate sources of financing or adopting lower-cost technologies. There is plenty of room for private sector participation in Niger's infrastructure sectors, in particular ICT. Meanwhile, the adoption of alternate lower-cost technologies in the water supply, power, and road sectors would reduce the financing gap by almost a half ($219 million).

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Sierra Leone's Infrastructure: A Continental Perspective

2011-03, Pushak, Nataliya, Foster, Vivien

Infrastructure has contributed significantly to the growth of West African economies during the past decade. In Sierra Leone, infrastructure added only around 0.51 percentage points to the per capita growth rate over 2003-07. Similarly to other countries in the region and the rest of the continent, the boost to historic growth came predominately from the ICT (Information and Telecommunications Technology) revolution while power-sector deficiencies and poor roads held back growth. After nine years of peace, economic activity is flourishing at every level in Sierra Leone. Political stability, high government accountability, good governance standards, and streamlined tax reform helped Sierra Leone to become a bright success story, turning the country into the easiest and quickest place to start business in West Africa. Sierra Leone's image in the eyes of investors is strengthened as the country ranked as one of the top five countries in Africa for investor protection. Looking ahead, the country faces a number of critical infrastructure challenges. Perhaps the most daunting of these challenges lies in the power sector, the poor state of which retards development of other sectors. Access to power is very low, at around 1 to 5 percent in urban areas, and is nonexistent in the countryside. The country's installed power-generation capacity is around 13 megawatts per million people, which is lower than what other low-income and fragile states have installed. The entire existing power infrastructure is concentrated in the western part of the country, and even with the functioning of the Bumbuna power plant, only half the suppressed demand for Freetown, let alone that for the rest of the country, is being met. Regardless of recent reduction in tariffs, Sierra Leoneans still pay some of the highest tariffs in Africa. In 2010, Sierra Leoneans paid three times as much for power as did residents of African countries that relied on hydropower. Making investments in more cost-effective power generation options is therefore an important strategic objective for Sierra Leone, without which further electrification will simply be unaffordable for the wider population.