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Road network upgrading and overland trade expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Author Info

  • Buys, Piet
  • Deichmann, Uwe
  • Wheeler, David

Abstract

Recent research suggests that isolation from regional and international markets has contributed significantly to poverty in many Sub-Saharan African countries. Numerous empirical studies identify poor transport infrastructure and border restrictions as significant deterrents to trade expansion. In response, the African Development Bank has proposed an integrated network of functional roads for the subcontinent. Drawing on new econometric results, the authors quantify the trade-expansion potential and costs of such a network. They use spatial network analysis techniques to identify a network of primary roads connecting allSub-Saharan capitals and other cities with populations over 500,000. The authors estimate current overland trade flows in the network using econometrically-estimated gravity model parameters, road transport quality indicators, actual road distances, and estimates of economic scale for cities in the network. Then they simulate the effect of feasible continental upgrading by setting network transport quality at a level that is functional, but less highly developed than existing roads in countries like South Africa and Botswana. The authors assess the costs of upgrading with econometric evidence from a large World Bank database of road project costs in Africa. Using a standard approach to forecast error estimation, they derive a range of potential benefits and costs. Their baseline results indicate that continental network upgrading would expand overland trade by about $250 billion over 15 years, with major direct and indirect benefits for the rural poor. Financing the program would require about $20 billion for initial upgrading and $1 billion annually for maintenance. The authors conclude with a discussion of supporting institutional arrangements and the potential cost of implementing them.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4097.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4097

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Related research

Keywords: Transport Economics Policy&Planning; Common Carriers Industry; Rural Roads&Transport; Transport and Trade Logistics; Economic Theory&Research;

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References

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  1. Amjadi, Azita & Yeats, Alexander J., 1995. "Have transport costs contributed to the relative decline of sub-Saharan African exports? Some preliminary empirical evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1559, The World Bank.
  2. J. Vernon Henderson, Zmarak Shalizi, and Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "Geography and development," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 81-105, January.
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  14. Jacob Wanjala Musila, 2005. "The Intensity of Trade Creation and Trade Diversion in COMESA, ECCAS and ECOWAS: A Comparative Analysis," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 14(1), pages 117-141, March.
  15. Carrillo-Tudela, Carlos & A Li, Carmen, 2004. "Trade Blocks and the Gravity Model: Evidence from Latin American Countries," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 19, pages 667-689.
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  17. Heggie, I.G. & Vickers, P., 1998. "Commercial Management and Financing of Roads," Papers 409, World Bank - Technical Papers.
  18. Das, Jishnu & Quy-Toan Do & Ozler, Berk, 2004. "Conditional cash transfers and the equity-efficiency debate," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3280, The World Bank.
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