Diaz: Infrastructure development and their significance

In 2020, China was regarded as the country with the highest spending on infrastructure globally. However, from May 2022, the major expensive infrastructure projects under development were in the United States and Europe.

The global infrastructure projects are estimated to form the bedrock of economic recovery plans after the pandemic. In 2020, over 2500 global infrastructure projects were announced. This represented a 5.5 percent increase from 2019.

More than half the projects were classed as sustainable infrastructure projects, such as solar power and wind projects. Despite the global demand, the gap in infrastructure investment remains vital. Investors, require access to reliable, and transparent data sources to analyze, understand and deliver profitability for any capital employed in the projects.

In the global space, there are myriad projects that have been implemented. For instance, about 2551 projects were announced between January and December 2020, with the value of the project being $739 billion, a 5.5 percent increase compared to 2019. This means that the pandemic had little impact in slowing down the infrastructure ambitions.

The geographical breakdown and statistics indicate that North America has the highest value of projects that have been announced, with a net value of 167 billion dollars. This is followed closely by Western Europe, with a value of 136 billion dollars.

It is crucial to point out that of the 2551 announced projects, about 56 percent(1437) were grouped as renewables, such as solar and wind, hydroelectric, geothermal and biomass. Therefore, they can be classified as sustainable projects. Solar and wind power projects account for about 79 percent of the overall power projects. The projects are slated to experience continued growth in the coming years.

Some of the biggest infrastructural projects in the world are the Sky City 1000. The project is a giant skyscraper in Tokyo and it is a 1000 meter tall structure. The structure can host 35, 000 individuals to live full time and 100, 000 people to work there.

New York Subway system is another crucial project. It has grown to be the most diverse and largest transit systems. The system runs through 277 stations and elevated 155. It also incorporates 68 maze bridges and 14 under tunnels. It operates through an extensive network of 11,450 signals. It uses about 1.8 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.

The big dig is the other biggest project. The project was designed to relieve congestion of traffic and increase mobility in Boston region. The project was established to excavate about 16 million cubic yards of dirt to build 161 lanes of highway. A project called Three Gorges Dam has been regarded as vital in the global sphere. China commenced the largest water conservation project in the world through utilizing hydroelectric Three Gorges Dam. The project spans the Yangtze River.

Structurally, it consisted of erection of 281,000 tons of structures of metal. About 354, 000 tons of bars for reinforcement were made and erected, together with 231 square meters of leak-proof concrete walls. International Space Station, a vital project that serves as both a port and orbiting laboratory for different spacecraft, is considered one of the biggest projects.

Moreover, over 200 astronauts across the world have visited the galactic destination since its inception in 2000. The habitable volume of station is 13,696 while its pressurized volume 32,333 cubic feet.

Infrastructure development in Africa and their significance

Infrastructure development in Africa has entered a vital period. Following a long time spent in economic shadows, African continent is facing economic drive. Despite experiencing different daunting challenges, it is making significant achievement in socio-economic and political development. From 2000, the economic growth in Africa has increased immensely, making it the third fastest growing region in the world.

Africa is considered the leading resource frontier when its number of resources increases. The position assists in driving local demand for investment in infrastructure, which remains the major challenge in the continents as it tries to attain sustainable development.

A group of 24 developing economies have championed the need to increase infrastructural funding in Africa. The G24 opine that the global demand for investment in infrastructure is between 2.8 trillion dollars as at 2021.

The World Bank has approximated that 48 billion dollars a year is needed to fund projects in Africa that are not financed. The World Bank and other analysts also state that Africa needs an annual investment of about 93 billion dollars every year to allow them to catch up with developing economies.

At the moment, only 45 billion dollars is financed with the majority getting financed from the governments, bilateral and multilateral sources of finance, Official Development Assistance (ODA) and private sector.

The funding of public infrastructure has become increasingly hectic to acquire. The financial crisis aftershocks due to the pandemic and Ukraine-Russia war are still felt across the globe, with public budgets getting more and more strained. Moreover, the traditional channels of investment and aid also face intense pressure.

Infrastructure development in Africa is the primary driver for progress in Africa. It is therefore an enabler for sustainable economic growth and productivity. It significantly contributes to poverty reduction, human development and attaining Millennium Development Goals.

As such, investment in infrastructure encompasses more than half of the current economic growth improvement and has the prowess to achieve more.

Biggest projects in Kenya

There are several projects that have been undertaken in Kenya. The projects have contributed to various impacts in the economy. Some of the projects are:
Lapsset: The project is considered one of the most ambitious ventures. The Lamu Port-South Sudan, Ethiopia project, amounting to Sh.2 trillion, is poised to enhance economic activities and increase the Kenya’s GDP. It also involves the construction of the three resort cities at Isiolo, Lokichoggio and Lamu.

It also consists of construction of airport in the resort cities and establishment of a power line of 1,100MW. The project will create employment opportunities and earn a lot of revenue.

Kipevu Oil Termninal: The project allows in and out movements of huge volumes of fuel products from Kenya. It also facilitates the importation and exportation of crude oil, aviation fuel, diesel and petrol. The exportation and importation leads to international trade, thus growth to the economy.

Standard Gauge Railway: The Mombasa to Nairobi project was an ambitious one that was established at a cost of Ksh.327 billion. The project has necessitated seamless movements of people, at a fair cost at a faster rate.
Nairobi Expressway: The 27km project was mainly initiated to ease traffic congestion within the Nairobi city.

Private public partnerships provide greatest opportunity to grow the business and economies to create development in the continent.

Chris Diaz is a Business Leader and Brand Africa Trustee
Twitter: @DiazChrisAfrica


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