Getting off the plane for the first time in Juba, South Sudan, I was amazed at the number of water trucks. There were dozens of them on every street, delivering water everywhere: from the private water tanks at wealthy houses, to trucks refilling large blue plastic drums by the side of the road for on-selling to the poorer residents of the city. These blue plastic drums are a lifeline to 90 percent of the population that does not receive water from the public water company. Only 3,000 households have that privilege.
More than a decade ago, The Economist christened Africa “the hopeless continent,” lamenting its prospects for growth and change. Today, the tide has turned. In 2013, the very same magazine lauded the improvement in lives in Africa over the past decade, and declared that the next decade will be even better.
Many of Africa’s economies are among the world’s fastest growing. At least a dozen have grown by more than 6.0 percent annually for six or more years. But success gives rise to new challenges. Although private investment is no longer novel in Africa, it does not yet meet growing needs. A younger population and expanding middle class have new demands. Infrastructure bottlenecks threaten sustained...
A Continental Perspective
This study is a product of the Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD), a project designed to expand the world’s knowledge of physical infrastructure in Africa. The AICD provides a baseline against which future improvements in infrastructure services can be measured, making it possible to monitor the results achieved from donor support. It also offers a solid empirical foundation for prioritizing investments and designing policy reforms in Africa’s infrastructure sectors.
The focus of the AICD country reports is on benchmarking sector performance and quantifying the main financing and efficiency gaps at the country level. These reports are particularly relevant to national policy makers and development partners working on...