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Making sense of Africa's infrastructure endowment : a benchmarking approach

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Author Info

  • Yepes, Tito
  • Pierce, Justin
  • Foster, Vivien

Abstract

The paper's objective is to explain factors underlying Africa's weak infrastructure endowment and to identify suitable infrastructure goals for the region based on benchmarking against international peers. The authors use a dataset covering the stocks of key infrastructure-including information and communication technology (ICT), power, roads, and water-across 155 developing countries over the period 1960 to 2005. The paper also examines subregional differences within Africa. They make use of regression techniques to control for a comprehensive set of economic, demographic, geographic, and historic conditioning factors, as well as adjusting for potential endogeneities. Results show that Africa lags behind all other regions of the developing world in its infrastructure endowment, except in ICT. By far the largest gaps arise in the power sector, with generating capacity and household access to electricity at half the levels observed in South Asia. While it is often assumed that Africa's infrastructure deficit is largely a reflection of its relatively low income levels, the authors find that African countries have much more limited infrastructure than income peers in other parts of the developing world. Countries that face the most challenging environment, with low population density, weak governance, and history of conflict, have the poorest infrastructure endowments. At the outset of the data series, Africa was doing significantly better than other developing regions for road density, generation capacity, and fixed-line telephones, but Africa's relative position has deteriorated over time. The most dramatic loss of ground has come in electrical generating capacity, which has stagnated since 1980.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4912.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4912

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Related research

Keywords: Transport Economics Policy&Planning; Urban Slums Upgrading; Urban Services to the Poor; Banks&Banking Reform; Infrastructure Regulation;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Anton Eberhard & Vivien Foster & Cecilia BriceƱo-Garmendia & Fatimata Ouedraogo & Daniel Camos & Maria Shkaratan, 2008. "Underpowered : The State of the Power Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7833, The World Bank.
  2. Pushak, Nataliya & Briceno-Garmendia, Cecilia M., 2011. "Zimbabwe's infrastructure : a continental perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5816, The World Bank.
  3. Foster, Vivien & Morella, Elvira, 2011. "Ethiopia's infrastructure: a continental perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5595, The World Bank.
  4. Shkaratan, Maria, 2012. "Tanzania's infrastructure : a continental perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5962, The World Bank.
  5. Addison, Tony & Anand, P. B., 2012. "Aid and Infrastructure Financing: Emerging challenges with a focus on Africa," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  6. Briceno-Garmendia, Cecilia M. & Shkaratan, Maria, 2011. "Kenya's infrastructure: a continental perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5596, The World Bank.
  7. Pushak, Nataliya & Foster, Vivien, 2011. "Sierra Leone's infrastructure : a continental perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5713, The World Bank.
  8. Dominguez-Torres, Carolina & Foster, Vivien, 2011. "The Central African Republic's infrastructure : a continental perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5697, The World Bank.
  9. Foster, Vivien & Pushak, Nataliya, 2011. "Ghana's infrastructure : a continental perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5600, The World Bank.
  10. Strobl, Eric & Valfort, Marie-Anne, 2012. "The Effect of Weather-Induced Internal Migration on Local Labor Markets: Evidence from Uganda," IZA Discussion Papers 6923, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Ranganathan, Rupa & Foster, Vivien, 2011. "The SADC's infrastructure : a regional perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5898, The World Bank.
  12. Ranganathan, Rupa & Foster, Vivien, 2011. "East Africa's infrastructure : a regional perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5844, The World Bank.
  13. Dominguez-Torres, Carolina & Briceno-Garmendia, Cecilia, 2011. "Mozambique's infrastructure : a continental perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5885, The World Bank.
  14. Ranganathan, Rupa & Foster, Vivien, 2011. "ECOWAS's infrastructure : a regional perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5899, The World Bank.
  15. Independent Evaluation Group, 2011. "Assessing IFC's Poverty Focus and Results," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2301, October.
  16. Foster, Vivien & Dominguez, Carolina, 2011. "Zambia's infrastructure : a continental perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5599, The World Bank.
  17. Ranganathan, Rupa & Foster, Vivien, 2011. "ECCAS's infrastructure : a regional perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5857, The World Bank.
  18. Foster, Vivien & Benitez, Daniel Alberto, 2011. "Congo, Democratic Republic of - The Democratic Republic of Congo's infrastructure : a continental perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5602, The World Bank.
  19. Calderon, Cesar & Serven, Luis, 2010. "Infrastructure in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5317, The World Bank.
  20. Foster, Vivien & Shkaratan, Maria, 2011. "Malawi's infrastructure: a continental perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5598, The World Bank.
  21. Foster, Vivien & Pushak, Nataliya, 2011. "Cote d'Ivoire's infrastructure : a continental perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5594, The World Bank.

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