In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 35% of the population has access to electricity, 23% to clean water, and modern transport has actually declined in the last two decades. Underinvestment in economic infrastructure is a problem across Africa, affecting ports, airports, roads, telecoms and internet access, amongst many other aspects crucial for economic growth.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 35% of the population has access to electricity, 23% to clean water, and modern transport has actually declined in the last two decades.
Underinvestment in economic infrastructure is a problem across Africa, affecting ports, airports, roads, telecoms and internet access, amongst many other aspects crucial for economic growth.
Africa’s first roundtable on infrastructure governance took place on November 2, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa to discuss the opportunities and challenges in developing African infrastructure.
Delegates at the roundtable sought to demonstrate how technology can sustain knowledge and momentum on infrastructure development.
Hosted by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), it is the first in a series of roundtables delivered by the Global Infrastructure Hub, World Bank, OECD, and other partners.
Through the roundtables, DBSA and its partners aim to introduce improved infrastructure planning and governance frameworks, enabling inclusive and sustainable investment decisions.
Senior African government officials, business partners and sector experts attended and shared knowledge on the best methods of governance for infrastructure, as well as ready-to-use tools to drive progress.
It follows directly from the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development and responds to the recommendations made at the Global Infrastructure Forum in April, 2017.
This forum also called on the Multilateral Development Banks and their partners to help strengthen investment capacity, policy and governance frameworks, enhance private sector financing and participation, and bridge the gap between the two sectors.
Many infrastructure policies have focused on improving access to finance to realise Africa’s growth potential, but actual project implementation has been hindered by poor governance and planning, according to Global Infrastructure Hub.
Therefore, over the past ten years investment focus has been on utilities to improve access to these resources, which has been a major challenge for some countries.
Ethiopia, for example, spends 20% of its GDP on meeting its electricity Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and 7% on its water SDGs.
This compares to an average investment in all infrastructure in Latin America of roughly 5.5%.
The roundtable discussed several notable examples of African infrastructure success, some of which was provided in a recent study by the InfraCompass tool, created by GI Hub.
It found that the rule of law was the strongest driver of investment across 49 countries’ infrastructure markets, which shows that development governance is actually more important than finance.
Correct governance also enables efficient and disciplined planning, crucial to sustainable and profitable growth within an infrastructure project.
Kenya was provided as an example in the study, where PPP legal frameworks have been applied fairly and efficiently to attract stable investment.
Chris Heathcote, CEO of Global Infrastructure Hub and co-host of the event, said: “By showcasing these positive examples, and providing practical support at the political and bureaucratic levels, this roundtable is intended to help speed up the transition for more African countries to better infrastructure governance models.
“The question is no longer whether to invest in Africa, but which countries in Africa will be most likely to stand behind the sort of long-term contracts investors are interested in and have the economic plan to create and maintain the stability they require.”
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