ACCRA, Africa can greatly increase its per capita gross domestic product (GDP) if it is able to bridge the huge infrastructure gap in sectors of its economy, says the World Bank in its latest Africa Pulse report.
The 15th edition of the semi-annual analysis of growth in sub-Saharan Africa, released ahead of the Spring meetings of the Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington D.C. from Friday to Sunday, says that closing the infrastructure gap which still persists in sub-Saharan Africa holds tremendous potential for increased growth.
Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the report, still lags behind other developing regions in virtually all dimensions of infrastructure performance, although trends vary across key sectors. The energy sector and road and railroad densities are among the worst performing sectors.
Although access to electricity has more than doubled during the period 1990 to 2014, only 35 per cent of the population has access to electricity. Road density also declined during 1990 to 2011.
By contrast, telecommunications infrastructure has improved dramatically; the number of fixed and mobile phone lines per 1,000 people increased from three in 1990 to 736 in 2014, and the number of Internet users per 100 people increased from 1.3 in 2005 to 16.7 in 2015.
Albert Zeufack, the World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa, says the gains made in telecommunications infrastructure have come on the back of technology, high political will and the right kind of regulatory reforms. It is important for countries in sub-Saharan Africa to look at how to replicate this success in other sectors.
Africa’s GDP growth will increase by 1.7 per cent per year if it is able to catch up to the median of the rest of the developing world and 2.6 per cent per year if it is able to close the infrastructure gap relative to the best performers. Closing the gap in electricity generation in Africa alone would put sub-Saharan Africa on its way to catching up with the rest of the developing world.
African governments need to enter into more public private partnerships (PPPs) to ensure that Africa catches up with the world.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK