Booming cities from
Lagos, Nigeria; Santiago in Chile down to Beihai, China have a relentless
demand for new office buildings, improved facilities, modern technology, smart
infrastructures. There exists economic and infrastructure transition in most
countries of Africa and Latin America. According to UN report, ‘The State of
African Cities’, African countries and cities are burdened by high
infrastructure deficits and shortages in access to technologies and services.
Poor transport infrastructures are responsible for 40 per cent of the logistics
costs in coastal - and 60 per cent in landlocked countries.
Developing economies are therefore
witnessing tremendous growth, though largely tamed by ineffectiveness and lack
of transparency, accountability and rule of law in the politics and governance
of most these nations. Africa for instance still suffers from systems
(institutions) that are weaker than strong men that built them. As claimed by
two illustrious professors that coauthored the book, ‘Why Nations Fail’, The book which applies
insights from institutional economics, development economics and economic history
to understand why nations develop differently, with some succeeding in the
accumulation of power and prosperity and others failing, via a wide range of
historical case studies. Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson; the two scholars
argued, sustainable economic development can only be achieved through inclusive
institutions not by extractive institutions built to serve selected few in the
society. That said!
Despite economic slowdown
in Nigeria and South Africa, the construction industry growth to be witnessed in
years ahead would be huge compared to the developed countries. According to
PWC’s Global Construction 2025 report, the construction market in Western
Europe is expected to be almost 5 percent smaller by 2025 than it was in 2007.
Africa presents immense
problems, most of these problems are opportunities in disguise. Lack of basic
amenities would provide jobs for young and vibrant professionals through the
investment of government in capital projects. Governments of Africa need to sit
tight and work out long-term programme and policy in addressing problems of
this continent. Rural urban migration, youth exclusion from governance,
economic disparity, poorly trained African population, youth restlessness, all
these demand timely solution if Africa is ready to partake in the global
economy of tomorrow.
Population growth and
urbanization pose great threats to government in providing infrastructure that
meets modern society. Even if all of us choose to bury our heads in the sand,
the rise in population and calls for an improved standard of living from the
growing population will catch up with us.