Infrastructure is crucial for Africa’s development, and for its countries to become more globally competitive. So how is Africa performing in the infrastructure department? The following seven stats illustrate the need for infrastructure investment in Africa.

AFRICA'S INFRASTRUCTURE GAP


Urbanisation is a key challenge faced by African countries in a fragile global economic environment. Governments need a forward-looking systematic approach to urban growth in order to secure sustainable socio-economic development and ensure resilience in the face of disaster.

KEY GOVERNANCE PAIN POINTS INCLUDE

Access to and efficiency in the use of public services

Reducing ecological footprints and financial fragility

Ensuring resilience against natural and man-made disasters

Infrastructure is crucial for Africa’s development, and for its countries to become more globally competitive. While the demand for infrastructure in Africa is rising, only 4% of the continent’s GDP is invested in this crucial area, compared to China’s 14% investment. According to the African Development Bank, “bridging the infrastructure gap could increase GDP growth by an estimated two percentage points”.

So how is Africa performing in the infrastructure department?

DESPITE PROGRESS, INFRASTRUCTURE REMAINS A CHALLENGE


Research released in 2016 by the non-partisan, pan-African research network, Afrobarometer, is telling of Africa’s need for greater investment in infrastructure.

The study, Building on Progress: Infrastructure Development Still a Major Challenge in Africa, was broadly based on interviews and accompanying research on the provision of services in 35 Sub-Saharan African countries. Field work in 35 countries was supported by a longitudinal study focusing on 18 of these countries to establish general trends in infrastructure development on the continental level.

FINDINGS SHOW THAT DESPITE SOME PROGRESS, INFRASTRUCTURE REMAINS AN ENORMOUS CHALLENGE.

Only about half of citizens live in zones with tarred or paved roads.

Sewerage is especially rare, available to less than one in three citizens, and very little progress has been made over the past decade in expanding access to this service.

The exception is cell phone service, which has rapidly increased in recent years and is now available to 93% of Africans.

Availability of infrastructure varies widely by region – with North Africa ranking first and East Africa last on most services – as well as by country.

Rural residents remain particularly disadvantaged; on average, less than half of rural residents have access to electricity, piped water, sewerage, or tarred/paved roads, and urban-rural access gaps within countries range up to 90 percentage points.

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7 STATS ON INFRASTRUCTURE IN AFRICA