High Ambitions and High Risks
According to the World Bank’s claim, Africa’s infrastructure funding gap is $93 billion per year until 2020, and 40% of this is for power needs. Of this total, about $66 billion per year represents Sub-Saharan Africa’s funding gap until 2020. Africa can bridge this gap if it doubles its spending on infrastructure (investment plus operations and maintenance) to about 15% of the continental GDP. Importantly, if Africa recovers the approximately $50 billion in illicit financial flows that leave the continent each year, it would go a long way toward financing its broader development agenda.1
In justifying a major expansion in spending, a World Bank’s study, "Infrastructure: A Time for Transformation", conducted in 24 African countries, estimates that the poor state of infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa cuts national economic growth by 2 percentage points every year and reduces business productivity by as much as 40 percent.2 Accordingly, infrastructure improvements are associated with increased economic growth rate, and with little consideration of negative environmental and other externalities.
African Leaders support the recommended scaling-up of infrastructure development and called for the creation of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), as the blueprint for the continent.3 This programme weaves together two plans: the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)4 and the Infrastructure Master Plan of the African Union (AU) in a single, inter-regional, and overarching framework for infrastructure development for Africa.