While Africa harbors vast economic potential, its development is often hindered by inadequate road infrastructure. Across various regions, the struggle with poorly maintained and insufficient road networks casts a shadow over economic prospects and societal well-being.
To assess the extent of these challenges, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has developed a novel measure of cross-country road quality based on the mean speed between large cities from Google Maps. This Mean Speed (MS) score serves as an effective proxy for evaluating road quality and accessibility.
The MS score reveals that several African nations are facing significant challenges in their road infrastructure. For instance, the average MS score for Sub-Saharan African countries stands at 46 kilometers per hour, considerably lower than the global average of 72 kilometers per hour. This disparity reflects the prevalence of poorly maintained, congested, and unsafe roads that hinder the efficient movement of people and goods.
Moreover, the MS score correlates with the existing World Bank’s Rural Access Index and the World Economic Forum’s Quality of Road Infrastructure score, further validating its effectiveness as a measure of road quality.
The negative impact of inadequate road infrastructure on economic growth and social progress is undeniable. It increases transportation costs, disrupts supply chains, limits access to markets and essential services, and hinders tourism development. Poor road conditions also contribute to road accidents, causing fatalities, injuries, and property damage.
To address these challenges, African governments and international organizations must prioritize investments in road infrastructure development and maintenance. This includes constructing new roads, upgrading existing ones, and implementing effective maintenance programs. Additionally, promoting sustainable road construction practices and adopting innovative technologies can further enhance road quality and durability.
By improving road infrastructure, African nations can unlock their economic potential, foster regional integration, and enhance the well-being of their citizens. Investing in roads is an investment in Africa’s future.
Below are 10 African countries with the worst road infrastructure:
Source: Africa Busines Insider