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Document Abstract
Published: 2015

Topic Guide: Developing regional infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Unblocking constraints and enabling effective policy intervention

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Developing infrastructure enables structural transformation, which accelerates economic growth and reduces poverty. This is of particular importance in South Asia and Africa, where the lack of regional infrastructure is constraining economic growth. Therefore this Topic Guide, produced by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), provides an expert overview of regional infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The guide focuses on how to unblock constraints and enable effective policy intervention to achieve greater benefits.

Regional infrastructure development is one of the most challenging areas for execution. However, it also has the potential for significant acceleration of economic development in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa and sometimes can have a peace-building role. This is of particular value for fragile countries or countries which are on the cusp of becoming fragile.

These potential benefits and challenges need to be reflected in DFID business cases. Business cases that make the case for further engagement in regional infrastructure will need to consider the following four issues to ensure successful implementation of regional integration projects:

  • creating and maintaining a political space
  • regional governance arrangements to ensure that projects are sustainable and provide the right context
  • financing, which is likely to involve public and private finance from different sources for a long-term period
  • implementation, maintenance and operational issues, which will involve setting up accountable management structures for project implementation and arrangements to cover maintenance and operation over the longer run
Even if engagement is planned in only one of these areas, success in one area will depend on success in the other areas. Financing, implementing, maintaining and operation of a regional infrastructure project will be easier when regional governance arrangements are more effective. However, just setting up the regional governance arrangements are no guarantee that all regional infrastructure projects will achieve funding and will reach successful implementation.
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D. Willem te Velde (ed); J. Tyson (ed); A. Steele (ed)

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