Person: Banerjee, Sudeshna
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Cost Recovery, Equity, and Efficiency in Water Tariffs : Evidence from African Utilities
2010-07-01, Banerjee, Sudeshna, Foster, Vivien, Wodon, Quentin
Water and sanitation utilities in Africa operate in a high-cost environment. They also have a mandate to at least partially recover their costs of operations and maintenance (O&M). As a result, water tariffs are higher than in other regions of the world. The increasing block tariff (IBT) is the most common tariff structure in Africa. Most African utilities are able to achieve O&M cost recovery at the highest block tariffs, but not at the first-block tariffs, which are designed to provide affordable water to low-volume consumers, who are often poor. At the same time, few utilities can recover even a small part of their capital costs, even in the highest tariff blocks. Unfortunately, the equity objectives of the IBT structure are not met in many countries. The subsidy to the lowest tariff-block does not benefit the poor exclusively, and the minimum consumption charge is often burdensome for the poorest customers. Many poor households cannot even afford a connection to the piped water network. This can be a significant barrier to expansion for utilities. Therefore, many countries have begun to subsidize household connections. For many households, standposts managed by utilities, donors, or private operators have emerged as an alternative to piped water. Those managed by utilities or that supply utility water are expected to use the formal utility tariffs, which are kept low to make water affordable for low-income households. The price for water that is resold through informal channels, however, is much more expensive than piped water.
Access, Affordability, and Alternatives : Modern Infrastructure Services in Africa
2008-02, Banerjee, Sudeshna, Wodon, Quentin, Uddin, Helal, Tsimpo, Clarence, Foster, Vivien
Africa lags well behind other developing regions in infrastructure access. The limited gains of the 1990s have not increased much in the 2000s. There is clear evidence that many countries are failing to expand services fast enough to keep ahead of rapid demographic growth and even faster urbanization. As a result, if present trends continue, Africa is likely to lag even further behind other developing regions, and universal access will be more than 50 years away in many countries. However, there is variation in performance across countries, even within the low and middle income brackets. A significant number of countries have succeeded in increasing the number of people who have access to water, electricity, and sanitation, by an annual average of 5-10 percent. Further investigation is warranted to explain what determines the superior performance of these countries.
Africa - Ebbing Water, Surging Deficits : Urban Water Supply in Sub-Saharan Africa
2008-06, Banerjee, Sudeshna, Foster, Vivien, Morella, Elvira
With only 56 percent of the population enjoying access to safe water, Sub-Saharan Africa lags behind other regions in terms of access to improved water sources. Based on present trends, it appears that the region is unlikely to meet the target of 75 percent access to improved water by 2015, as specified in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The welfare implications of safe water cannot be overstated. The estimated health and time-saving benefits of meeting the MDG goal are about 11 times as high as the associated costs. Monitoring the progress of infrastructure sectors such as water supply has been a significant by-product of the MDG, and serious attention and funding have been devoted in recent years to developing systems for monitoring and evaluating in developing countries. Piped water reaches more urban Africans than any other form of water supply-but not as large a share as it did in the early 1990s. The most recent available data for 32 countries suggests that some 39 percent of the urban population of Sub-Saharan Africa is connected to a piped network, compared with 50 percent in the early 1990s. Analysis suggests that the majority of those who lack access to utility water live too far away from the distribution network, although some fail to connect even when they live close by. Water-sector institutions follow no consistent pattern in Sub-Saharan Africa. Where service is centralized, a significant minority has chosen to combine power and water services into a single national multi-utility urban water sector reforms were carried out in the 1990s, with the aim of creating commercially oriented utilities and bringing the sector under formal regulation. One goal of the reforms was to attract private participation in the sector.
The Power of the Mine : A Transformative Opportunity for Sub-Saharan Africa
2015-02-05, Banerjee, Sudeshna Ghosh, Romo, Zayra, McMahon, Gary, Toledano, Perrine, Pérez Arroyo, Inés
Africa needs power - to grow its economies and enhance the welfare of its people. Power for all is still a long distance away - two thirds of the population remains without electricity and enterprises rank electricity as a top constraint to doing business. This sub-optimal situation coexists while vast energy resources remain untapped. One solution to harness these resources could be to tap into the concept of anchor load. Mining industry lends itself to the concept of anchor load as it needs power in large quantity and reliable quality to run its processes. Underpinned by a comprehensive database of mining projects between 2000 and 2020, this report explores the potential and challenges of using mining demand for power as anchor load for national power system development and expansion of electrification. This report finds that mining demand can indeed be a game-changer - an opportunity where policymakers and international community can make a difference in tapping the enormous mineral wealth of Africa for the benefit of so many people. The utilities would benefit from having mining companies as creditworthy consumers that facilitate generation and transmission investments producing economies of scale needed for large infrastructure projects, benefiting all consumers in the system. The mines would benefit from grid supply - typically priced much lower than self-supply - which allows them to focus on their core business, greatly enhancing their competitiveness. The country would benefit from more exports and tax revenues from mines, more job opportunities in local firms selling goods and services to the mines, and a higher GDP. The report estimates that mining demand for power can triple since 2000 going upto 23 GW in 2030. While South Africa will continue to be the dominant presence in mining landscape, its importance will reduce and other countries, primarily in Southern African region, will emerge as important contributers of mining demand for power. Simulations in countries with minimal power-mining interface suggests that bringing this demand explicitly into the power planning process can ensure more investments in both grid and off-grid power systems and potentially superior service delivery outcomes for mines as well as communities. These opportunities can also be attractive investment destinations for private sector. However, there are also risks and institutional roadblocks in power-mining integration - addressing many of them and employing risk mitigation mechanism are within the control of policymakers.
Trends in Household Coverage of Modern Infrastructure Services in Africa
2009-03-01, Banerjee, Sudeshna, Foster, Vivien, Wodon, Quentin
Household surveys have long been used to estimate poverty and inequality trends, as well as trends in education and health indicators, but they have not been used to the same extent to assess trends in the access to or coverage of modern infrastructure services. In this paper, we use Demographic and Health Surveys from a larger sample of sub-Saharan African countries in order to collect comparable information across countries on coverage of piped water, flush toilets, electricity, and landline telephones over time. The results suggest that coverage rates for electricity, flush toilets have improved slightly over the last decade. Coverage of piped water has declined, at the same time as coverage of landline (as well as cellular) telephone has increased rapidly. The decline has been primarily in the urban areas while the infrastructure coverage has either increased or remained stable in rural Africa. For all four services, among the poorest households coverage remains virtually inexistent. If business as usual continues, it would take a very long time to reach universal or widely shared coverage even in countries where coverage has improved. These results point to the need to increase efforts by governments and international community to progressively increase access to modern infrastructure services in Africa.