Infrastructure and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

70 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by César Calderón

César Calderón

World Bank

Luis Servén

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: September 1, 2008


An adequate supply of infrastructure services has long been viewed by both academics and policy makers as a key ingredient for economic development. Sub-Saharan Africa ranks consistently at the bottom of all developing regions in terms of infrastructure performance, and an increasing number of observers point to deficient infrastructure as a major obstacle for growth and poverty reduction across the region. This paper offers an empirical assessment of the impact of infrastructure development on growth and inequality, with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. The paper uses a comparative cross-regional perspective to place Africa's experience in the international context. Drawing from an updated data set of infrastructure quantity and quality indicators covering more than 100 countries and spanning the years 1960-2005, the paper estimates empirical growth and inequality equations including a standard set of control variables augmented by infrastructure quantity and quality measures, and controlling for the potential endogeneity of the latter. The estimates illustrate the potential contribution of infrastructure development to growth and equity across Africa.

Keywords: Transport Economics Policy & Planning, Infrastructure Economics, Public Sector Economics & Finance, Banks & Banking Reform, Economic Theory & Research

Suggested Citation

Calderon, Cesar A. and Servén, Luis, Infrastructure and Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa (September 1, 2008). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4712, Available at SSRN:

Cesar A. Calderon (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

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Washington, DC 20433
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202-458-7214 (Phone)
202-522-7528 (Fax)


Luis Servén

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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