The African continent’s generally woeful infrastructure has long acted as a brake on economic growth and poverty alleviation in the region. Better roads would help African farmers get their crops to markets. Better sanitation would significantly improve public health. Cheaper and more reliable electric power would allow manufacturing sectors to expand. This collection of essays by economists associated with the African Development Bank suggests ways to achieve those outcomes. The main idea: more public spending. The authors estimate that the region’s governments currently spend less than half of the $93 billion a year they need to on infrastructure investment and maintenance. The difficulty in bridging this funding gap stems not just from a lack of money but also from a paucity of proposals for well-defined, bankable projects.
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