Friday, September 24, 2010

Africa's Regional Infrastructure Subject to Corruption

Below is the comment I posted in response to Jeffrey Sach's FT blog
promoting regional infratructure during the MDG Summit: China has left
the west on the sidelines in Africa

The public construction sector is notorious for corruption. Without
greater fiscal and development goal accountability to Africa's citizens,
regional infrastructure will fall short of local development regardless
of whose donor dollars or donor yuan are being used. Take the power
sector. Regional power grid planning is conducted at the highest levels
far from public eyes. Large power supply and transmission projects
dominate Africa's energy investments with a growing budget gap for
distribution. Much of the current infrastructure has been run down due
to poor maintenance. Without public accountability, where's the
incentive for project revenue streams to pay for the project investment
or to sustain maintenance? In many countries, power grids
disproportionately support commodities exports which may funnel some
revenues to state coffers, but without budget transparency there's no
way to trace those funds back into helping meet the state's development
goals. Since 2003, over $1 billion has been invested to rehabilitate the
DR Congo's degraded Inga dams and power grid which benefit Congo's
mining sector, a few major cities, and power consumers in South Africa.
The funding and the rehabilitation work both seem to be disappearing
into an unaccountable black hole. The DR Congo's grid is the foundation
for much of the SADC region's energy plans. Meanwhile, the DR Congo has
set a national target to achieve 67% of the population having access to
electricity by 2025, from its current rate of 11%. Even if the Inga dams
and transmission line were being rehabilitated in an efficient manner,
it would do virtually nothing to move DR Congo toward its 67%
electricity access goal. African citizens deserve transparency of public
infrastructure planning and accountability of public funds. Otherwise,
donors funding public infrastructure are throwing funds at corruption
more than at development.

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

No comments:

Post a Comment