Infrastructure development a means to an end
July 12, 2017
Ethiopiaís main development challenge remained to be generating far reaching economic growth that will substantially reduce poverty levels, particularly in rural areas. Although the country has registered and reduced poverty level there is still much to be done to bring the level the country is aspiring to achieve in the coming ten years.
Despite the challenges the country has managed to bring key improvements including in areas of agriculture production sector, domestic resource mobilization and funds, employment among the youth and improvements in distribution of basic social services. Abundance of natural resources, trainable labour force, an emerging middle class, and a developmental State with an ambitious vision, commitment, and strong sense of policy ownership is expected to take Ethiopia into the roads of development. These involves investment in infrastructure including in food security, industrialization, energy, transport and quality of basic services.
Notably Ethiopia has made considerable investments in infrastructure over the past decade including the massive energy sector investments at the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (6000MW), Gilgel-gibe III (1,870MW) and Genale Dawa III (254MW) hydropower projects, as well as the Adama and Ashegoda wind power projects. These projects are not only erected to fulfil the demands of local needs but that of the continent as well generating a foreign currency revenue for the country. On the other hand road infrastructure network also expanded linking the country towns with the neighbouring countries. The first in Africa city electric metro, the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway (900km), MekelleHara-Gebeya railway (268km), Hara-Gebeya-SemeraAssayita railway (229km), and the Awash-KombolchaHara-Gebeya railway (278km) are few of the railway networks that are filling the gap of transport infrastructure problems. The road network also expanded from just 48,800KM in 2009 to over 120,000 km.
Investments in the information and communication technology (ICT) sub-sector have increased the number of telecom services subscribers from 7.7 million to over 52.7 million and mobile subscribers from 6.2 million to over 40 million according to the collaborative research report of the Africa Growth Initiative of Brookings (AGI), the African Development Bank, (AfDB), and the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) on industrial development in Africa. The manufacturing sector has long been considered the main engine of economic growth and structural transformation. Several countries in Asia have successfully industrialized in the last few decades portraying encouraging footstep for many countries in Africa including Ethiopia to craft industrialized economic system.
According to economists the success of economic development process largely depends on the available resources and openness of the country. Resources such as capital, manpower and technology are necessary inputs in the growth process economic expertís point out. Nevertheless, the efficiency of these inputs and the sources of economic growth largely depend on the available enabling environment mainly of the available infrastructure. The availability of infrastructure facilities and services as well as the efficiency of such services to a large extent determine the success of economic development initiatives. Undoubtedly investments in infrastructures such as energy, water, transportation and communication technologies promote economic growth and support to alleviate poverty and improve living conditions in countries such as Ethiopia.
By Eden Sahle. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org