A new report titled ‘Quality Infrastructure in 21st Century Africa’ has argued that traditional business models for project development have failed to deliver the infrastructure services needed to match the dynamics of Africa’s demographic growth and urbanisation.
According to the joint report published by the OECD Development Centre and the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), in partnership with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), by 2050, Africa will be home to 2.5 billion people.
In the face of this formidable transformation, the continent urgently needs to accelerate the delivery of infrastructure -such as roads, bridges, energy, water and broadband- while ensuring its quality.
The report indicates that because a basic infrastructure project can take up to 30, or even 40 years from conception to completion, by the time of completion, it no longer fits the needs of populations and economies.
In order to reach the development goals enshrined in the African Union’s Agenda 2063, strengthen regional and local value chains, and create more jobs for urban and rural populations, the report states that “African governments need to design new ways of managing such projects, the report finds -such as by making infrastructure investment faster and less burdensome.”
Governments are expected to overcome the “shortcomings of the two main common approaches of their financial and technical partners: one that aims to help strengthen the institutional environment together with building the infrastructure, and the other that works to develop infrastructure rapidly, with institution-building seen as a local, evolutionary matter”.
The report stemmed from the 18th International Economic Forum on Africa held in 2O18 in Paris, when President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana called on the OECD Development Centre and ACET to jointly establish a technical platform to facilitate a policy dialogue around optimizing, accelerating and scaling up quality infrastructure in Africa. The report’s launch at a July 9 online event marks the culmination of the first phase of this joint collaboration.
The report benefited from the support of the German Organisation for International Development (GIZ) on behalf of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).