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The Africa Infrastructure Development Index (AIDI)

Infrastructure in Africa is critical for fostering economic growth and regional integration. The United Nations (UN) Resolution A/RES/70/1 approving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN plan of action to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity in all the dimensions of human development, points out how safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems are crucial for ensuring mobility and a catalyst for integration between local communities, cities, regions and countries.

Maybe not everybody is aware of the fact that the African Development Bank (AfDB), as part of its infrastructure development efforts, has developed an initiative called “Africa Infrastructure Knowledge Program” (AIKP), with a dedicated Portal containing statistical information on the status of infrastructure development across the continent.

The aim of such a tool is to assist African countries in benchmarking the performance of their infrastructure sectors and in formulating their own country-specific strategies. The AIKP is the successor of the Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD), a program launched by the international community after the G8 (US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, and Japan) Summit of 2005 at Gleneagles, that focused largely on the promotion of progress, growth, and development on the African continent. The AICD program was based on the creation of a Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) - established in the same year - which entrusted the World Bank to assess the status of infrastructure in Africa through the development of a common quantitative baseline database. The reason of this initiative was to improve understanding of Africa's infrastructure deficit so that programmes launched by international donors for infrastructure development could be more targeted and effective.

Within the AIKP initiative, the AfDB publishes a yearly report which analyses the situation and progress of infrastructure development across the continent. The Africa Infrastructure Development Index (AIDI) report, whose latest version was adopted in July 2020, is based on a composite index called AIDI (Africa Infrastructure Development Index) that is articulated in 4 main indicators each one measuring the levels of development in 4 key areas: 1) transport infrastructure, 2) electricity production (including the energy imported from abroad); 3) ICT development; and 4) access to water and sanitation. For ICT, each indicator is further articulated in sub-indicators measuring the both mobile and fixed-line telephone subscriptions in each African country.

The transport composite index, more specifically, analyses the status of infrastructure in terms of total road network and total paved roads. In this respect, the best performers in Africa, according to the latest AIDI report, are Egypt, Seychelles, Libya, Mauritius and Botswana, followed at a short distance by Cabo Verde, South Africa and Namibia. The AIKP portal also shows data on main African ports (e.g. port capacity, dwell time, etc.) ) and on rail and air transport.



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