The lack of modern infrastructure is a major challenge to
The needs are enormous. From rural roads, railways and harbours to irrigation systems, telecommunications, clean water, sanitation, energy and such basic social infrastructure as health, education, banking and commercial services, hundreds of millions of Africans lack even the most fundamental amenities.
This is particularly true in rural areas, where the majority of the continent's 920 million people live. The burden also falls most heavily on women, who often must spend hours collecting wood for cooking and heating in the absence of electricity. Rural women walk an average of 6 kilometres daily to rivers and springs for want of piped water and wells.
According to assessments of
less than a third of sub-Saharan Africans have electricity; only 56 per cent drink clean water; barely a third of rural Africans live near a road; just 4 per cent of
- In the decades since African countries achieved their independence, many governments sought to build on the meagre infrastructure left by the departing colonial powers. But those efforts were hampered by weak planning and management capacity, inadequate financing, corruption and a lack of integrated regional and transcontinental planning and cooperation. Poor maintenance has left much existing infrastructure in disrepair, particularly in rural areas.
Although the damaging economic and social impacts of
The result, notes Secretary General
Guest commentary sourced from a "Backgrounder" for a UN high-level meeting on
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