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ECOWAS's infrastructure : a regional perspective

  • Ranganathan, Rupa
  • Foster, Vivien
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    Infrastructure improvements boosted growth in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) by one percentage point per capita per year during 1995-2005, primarily thanks to growth in information and communication technology. Deficient power infrastructure held growth back by 0.1 percent. Raising the region's infrastructure to the level of Mauritius could boost growth by 5 percentage points. Overall, infrastructure in the 15 ECOWAS countries ranks consistently behind southern Africa across many indicators. However, there is parity in access to household services -- water, sanitation, and power. ECOWAS has a well-developed regional road network, though sea corridors and ports need attention. Surface transport is expensive and slow, owing to cartelization, restrictive regulations, and delays. There is no regional rail network. Air transport has improved despite the lack of a strong hub-and-spoke structure. Safety remains a concern. Electrical power, the most expensive and least reliable in Africa, reaches 50 percent of the population but meets just 30 percent of demand. Regional power trading would bring substantial benefits if Guinea could become a hydropower exporter. Prices for critical ICT services are relatively high. Recent panregional initiatives have improved roaming. New projects are underway to provide access and improved services to unconnected countries. Completing and maintaining ECOWAS's infrastructure will require sustained spending of $1.5 billion annually for a decade, with one-third going to power. Although the necessary spending is only 1 percent of regional GDP, some countries'share is between 5 and 25 percent of national GDP. Clearly, external assistance will be needed.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5899.

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    Date of creation: 01 Dec 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5899
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    1. International Finance Corporation & World Bank, 2008. "Doing Business 2009 : Comparing Regulation in 181 Economies," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6313.
    2. Jean-François Arvis & Gaël Raballand & Jean-François Marteau, 2010. "The Cost of Being Landlocked : Logistics Costs and Supply Chain Reliability," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2489.
    3. Foster, Vivien & Steinbuks, Jevgenijs, 2009. "Paying the price for unreliable power supplies : in-house generation of electricity by firms in Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4913, The World Bank.
    4. Supee Teravaninthorn & Gaël Raballand, 2009. "Transport Prices and Costs in Africa : A Review of the International Corridors," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6610.
    5. Yepes, Tito & Pierce, Justin & Foster, Vivien, 2009. "Making sense of Africa's infrastructure endowment : a benchmarking approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4912, The World Bank.
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