Poor Infrastructure Hindering Competitiveness for Africa

According to the World Bank, lack of Infrastructure is hurting economic growth in Africa.

The World Bank has advised African governments to improve the quality of infrastructure so as to become competitive in the current globalised environment.

Speaking at the Agoa forum in Washington recently, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the World Bank managing director, said: “Clearly the lack of well functioning transport and trade facilitation regimes hinder many countries from achieving economic growth.”

She said: “As countries like China have demonstrated, you can’t trade without the means to get goods offshore.”

According to statistics, although roads are the dominant transport mode in Africa, their density is less than 7 kilometers (km) per 100 sq km, compared to the 12 km per 100 sq km in Latin America and 18 km per 100 sq km in Asia.

Dr Okonjo-Iweala said: “Better logistics are strongly associated with trade expansion, export diversification, attraction of foreign direct investments and economic growth. The 2010 Logistics Performance Indicators shows that 10 Sub-Saharan Africa countries are ranked as the lowest economic performers due to insufficient infrastructure.

“According to the indicators, the lack of skills, proper infrastructure and market structures among others have made business expensive. For example, the World Bank’s latest report on Doing Business indicates that the average number of days to export from Africa is 33.

“An exporter will at least need 75 days to export from Chad, 37 from Uganda, and 23 from Mozambique. Dr Okonjo-Iweala said: “Simplified customs and export procedures to quickly move goods across borders are needed to reduce the cost of doing business.”

She said the poor business and regulatory practices have imposed a huge toll on trade which has eroded benefits from trade agreements.

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