Infrastructure for Poverty Reduction and Economic Development in Africa
by: United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)

The report indicates that Africa's overall infrastructure investment needs are estimated to be US$93 billion per year and that its largest infrastructure deficiency is in the energy sector, whether measured in terms of energy consumption, generation capacity or security of supply. The report evaluates the role of infrastructure in promoting economic growth and poverty reduction in Africa. It argues that strong urban economic development is essential for the provision of adequate housing, infrastructure, education, health, safety, and basic services. Most African countries face acute "energy poverty" with lack of access, especially in rural areas; low purchasing power; low energy efficiency and over-dependence on traditional biomass for meeting basic energy needs. According to the report, Africa is the world?s largest consumer of biomass energy. Biomass accounts for two-thirds of total African final energy consumption, with 65% provided by firewood. The report notes that the development of renewable energy options could be financed in part by more effective use of the "cap and trade" mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol, such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The report also notes that only South Africa, Mauritius and the five North African countries have taken advantage of the CDM-facilitated international carbon trade opportunities, while most Sub-Saharan African countries lack the expertise to do so. The report indicates that capacity building is needed to enable these countries to prepare CDM-eligible projects and to negotiate carbon emissions credit.

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United Nations