© 2014

Infrastructure and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Introduction

    1. Antonio Estache, Quentin Wodon
      Pages 1-7
  3. Infrastructure, Growth, and the MDGs

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-9
    2. Antonio Estache, Quentin Wodon
      Pages 11-25
    3. Antonio Estache, Quentin Wodon
      Pages 27-43
    4. Antonio Estache, Quentin Wodon
      Pages 45-58
  4. Are Household Needs Being Met?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 61-61
    2. Antonio Estache, Quentin Wodon
      Pages 63-71
    3. Antonio Estache, Quentin Wodon
      Pages 73-85
    4. Antonio Estache, Quentin Wodon
      Pages 87-94
    5. Antonio Estache, Quentin Wodon
      Pages 95-111
  5. What Did Past Reforms Achieve and What’s Next?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 115-115
    2. Antonio Estache, Quentin Wodon
      Pages 117-135
    3. Antonio Estache, Quentin Wodon
      Pages 137-149
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 167-190

About this book


Infrastructure and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa analyzes the extent to which, how, and how fast the infrastructure needs of the poor have been met in Sub-Saharan Africa. Estache and Wodon explore the extent to which some key policies have hurt or helped progress in trying to speed the expansions of coverage so clearly needed in the region. They focus on electricity, water, sanitation, and other services at the core of the day-to-day needs of the population, examining the extent to which reforms of the last 15-20 years have managed to reduce the infrastructure gap. They anchor their analysis on the evidence available about the macroeconomic importance of infrastructure for the region, the policies that have been adopted to accelerate coverage, and a detailed assessment of the poverty dimensions of infrastructure.


Infrastructure poverty Africa sub-Saharan Africa utilities electricity water sanitation transport telecoms subsidies access affordability tariffs cost recovery investments aid overseas development assistance millennium development goals growth production strategy

About the authors

Author Antonio Estache: Antonio Estache is Professor of Economics at Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, and a researcher at the European Centre for Advanced Research in Economics and Statistics, Belgium, and at the Centre for Economic and Policy Research, UK. Author Quentin Wodon: Quentin Wodon is an Adviser and Coordinator in the Education Global Practice at the World Bank.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking


"This book is the most comprehensive book so far on infrastructure and the poor in Sub-Saharan Africa. It combines accessible theoretical reasoning with a firm grip on empirical evidence. After reviewing the role of infrastructure on growth, it documents access rate to infrastructure services, affordability, quality, and costs. It also discusses the scope for reforms to improve the support to the poor. The book is simultaneously rigorous and easy to read. This is an essential contribution for anyone who is interested in development economics and poverty alleviation." - Emmanuelle Auriol, Professor of Economics, Toulouse School of Economics, France

"This book challenges the development community to start thinking more objectively about how we deliver infrastructure to benefit the poor. It is not about private vs. public but using the available evidence to understand the challenges and the potential solutions to deliver more effective services to the poorest people in society." - John Hawkins, Programme Manager, Engineers Against Poverty, UK

"This is essential reading for those wanting to understand the infrastructure challenge facing Africa and how to meet it. The authors quantify the challenge, assess the effectiveness of past reforms, and outline a strategy for delivering infrastructure that will support growth and meet the needs of the poor. A long overdue book that will shape future policies." - Tony Venables, BP Professor of Economics, University of Oxford, UK

"The development of Africa and its infrastructure is on everyone's agenda, but progress has been excruciatingly slow. In their sobering and important book Estache and Wodon focus on how Africa's poor have been affected by recent infrastructure reforms and what reforms to try next. They estimate that the poor have seen the least increase in access to modern infrastructure, and as a consequence often pay more for inferior substitutes, travel longer to schools and clinics and suffer poorer educational and health outcomes. To improve access African states need to move beyond the debate on privatization and develop a portfolio of approaches including small local private providers as well as large, renewed efforts to improve the performance of state-owned infrastructure companies and reforms to traditional government procurement practices. In addition, states should restructure tariffs to target aid to the poor by, for example, switching from consumption to connection subsidies." - Jose A. Gomez-Ibanez, Derek C. Bok Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy, Harvard University, USA