Increasing access to infrastructure for Africa's rural poor

Maximo Torero, Shyamal Chowdhury
issue brief

The development community is increasingly in agreement that providing adequate hard infrastructure (i.e., capital-intensive infrastructure such as rural telecommunications, electrification, and rural roads) is an important step in the process of alleviating poverty and providing a more equitable set of opportunities for citizens in developing countries. In infrastructure development, Africa has lagged behind the Western Hemisphere for centuries, even trailing Latin America in recent decades. This has normally been attributed to geography and the initial condition of Africa’s infrastructure. Disease, internal distances, and sparse population have been important factors as well.