Is low coverage of modern infrastructure services in African cities due to lack of demand or lack of supply ?
A majority of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is not connected to electricity and piped water networks, and even in urban areas coverage is low. Lack of network coverage may be due to demand or supply-side factors. Some households may live in areas where access to piped water and electricity is feasible, but may not be able to pay for those services. Other households may be able to afford the services, but may live too far from the electric line or water pipe to have a choice to be connected to it. Given that the policy options for dealing with demand as opposed to supply-side issues are fairly different, it is important to try to measure the contributions of both types of factors in preventing better coverage of infrastructure services in the population. This paper shows how this can be done empirically using household survey data and provides results on the magnitude of both types of factors in explaining the coverage deficit of piped water and electricity services in urban areas for a large sample of African countries.
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