Report

The Impact of Infrastructure on Sustainable Development in Africa, a Call Directed to Decision-Makers

Shawgei Salah Ahmed

It is known that Goal No. 9 of the Sustainable Development Goals is to build resilient infrastructure, stimulate inclusive industrialization, and encourage innovation, and recall that this goal contains eight sub-objectives:

First, to build good quality, reliable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure, including regional and cross-border infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.

Second, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, substantially increase by 2030 the share of industry in employment and gross domestic product, in line with national conditions, and double its share in the least developed countries.

Third, increasing the access of small-scale industrial enterprises and other enterprises, especially in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets.

Fourth, improving infrastructure and modernizing industries by 2030 to achieve their sustainability, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound industrial technologies and processes, and with all countries taking action according to their capabilities.

Fifth, strengthening scientific research and improving technological capabilities in industrial sectors in all countries, particularly developing countries, including, by 2030, encourage innovation and substantially increase the number of research and development workers per million people, and increase public and private spending on research and development.

Sixth, facilitate the development of sustainable and resilient infrastructure in developing countries through improved financial, technological, and technical support for African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing states.

Seventh, support the development of domestic technology, research, and innovation in developing countries, including by ensuring a policy environment conducive to industrial diversification and value addition to commodities, among others.

Eighth, significantly increase access to information and communication technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in the least developed countries by 2020.

In Africa, we must understand that the proposed sustainable development goals will require a solid, functional, and sustainable infrastructure if the goals are to be achieved. Reliable forms of energy, availability of safe water, education, safety and security, and social and economic services – all are made possible through resilient infrastructures, without infrastructure, there is no healthy society because basic services such as health care and education are infrastructure. For communities and businesses to function and thrive, they need access to goods and markets. Infrastructures must meet the needs of the community.

Infrastructure and Sustainable Development Goals in Africa: Is it possible to build a strategy in moving sand?

And in much of the developing world, the severe lack of infrastructure may be the biggest obstacle to human and economic development. Filling this shortfall will support progress towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals, as 2.5 billion people around the world still do not have adequate sanitation, and 768 million people do not have access to clean drinking water. More than a billion people did not enter their homes with electricity. And if we add to these issues other common problems – such as deteriorating road conditions, dilapidated bridges, poor airport management, and inefficient ports.

In general, in much of the developing world, a severe lack of infrastructure facilities may be the biggest obstacle to human and economic development. Filling this shortfall will support progress towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals, as 2.5 billion people around the world still do not have adequate sanitation, and 768 million people do not have access to clean drinking water. More than a billion people did not enter their homes with electricity. And if we add to these issues other common problems – such as deteriorating road conditions, dilapidated bridges, poor airport management, and inefficient ports.

Sustainable Development Issues and the Impact of Infrastructure a conference was held in March 2010 in Sydney, Australia attended by leading economists to explore the many aspects of infrastructure.

The discussions in the conference were divided into six, and these axes need to be presented to decision-makers in Africa to build a long-term strategy at the national and continental levels. The most prominent of these questions revolve around

First, what is the nature of infrastructure? What are the characteristics that distinguish it from other production factors?

Second, what are the returns on infrastructure investment? How is infrastructure investment evaluated and implemented? How does infrastructure affect the rate of economic growth and sustainable development?

Third, how should infrastructure be established? Should the state establish Or is it undertaken by the private sector under strict regulations from the state, or is it done by the private sector with few, if any, regulations imposed by the state?

Fourth, is the provision of infrastructure expected to be affected by the economic growth phase that the country is going through?

Fifth, how important is the infrastructure to the economy Can this is measured reliably how new technologies adopted, and can are infrastructure services become more efficient How can countries in practice evaluate existing infrastructure and produce new ones? What is the most effective way to finance infrastructure spending? What are the best infrastructure pricing, maintenance, and investment policies? What are the strengths and weaknesses of both the public and private sectors in the provision and management of infrastructure, and what constitutes those strengths and weaknesses? What are the distributional implications of infrastructure policies? How can political forces affect the effectiveness of the public sector in providing infrastructure? What framework best deals with monopoly infrastructure providers?.

In the end, it can be claimed that answering the previous questions in detail can draw a road map for building long-term strategies regarding infrastructure and its relationship to sustainable development in Africa. The time to implement it and we need results today before tomorrow is a shout-out to the decision-makers in Africa.

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