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Infrastructure investment and its performance in Africa over the course of the twentieth century

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyse long-term trends in the development of Africa's economic infrastructure. Design/methodology/approach – The importance of infrastructure was examined in social and economic processes, followed by an exploration of the changing nature of infrastructure and its implications for delivery. The paper looked at the development of infrastructure in Africa by focusing on what was inherited at independence versus what had been achieved there since and why this was the case. Findings – The development challenges are immense because delivery of infrastructure requires much more than financial resources – it requires the capacity to deliver massive, complex projects in an efficient manner. It is clear that African states do not possess this level of capacity but this can still be delivered through innovative public-private partnerships, global cooperation, and the support of international institutions. Practical implications – Improving Africa's infrastructure is a necessary but not sufficient condition to promote economic development and attract investment back to the continent. Originality/value – The author assesses what needs to be done to ensure the massive infrastructure delivery required for the continent, which is estimated at 6 percent of output, and the innovation required for such a programme.

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Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal International Journal of Social Economics.

Volume (Year): 37 (2010)
Issue (Month): 7 (July)
Pages: 512-536

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Handle: RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:37:y:2010:i:7:p:512-536
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