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The Africa Infrastructure Knowledge Program

The Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD) was an unprecedented knowledge program on Africa’s infrastructure that grew out of the pledge by the G8 Summit of 2005 at Gleneagles to substantially increase ODA assistance to Africa, particularly to the infrastructure sector, and the subsequent formation of the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA). The AICD study was founded on the recognition that sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) suffers from a very weak infrastructural base, and that this is a key factor in the SSA region failing to realize its full potential for economic growth, international trade, and poverty reduction.

The October 2005 inaugural meeting of the ICA in London recognized the need for a coordinated program to generate a common quantitative baseline. The meeting therefore commissioned the World Bank to undertake such a study, in order to:

  • assist individual countries in benchmarking the relative performance of their infrastructure sectors and formulating their own
  • country-specific strategies in the light of regional experience;
  • assist donors in designing appropriate support for infrastructure reform, finance, regulation, and investment;
  • allow an improved evaluation of the collective efforts to meet Africa’s needs by establishing a baseline of the current situation on the continent; and
  • act as a core reference document on all strategic issues relating to infrastructure and hence as a vehicle for building consensus on the appropriate response to Africa’s infrastructure challenges.

The study evolved under the guidance of a Steering Committee chaired by the African Union Commission (AUC), also comprising the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Africa’s regional economic communities, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), and major infrastructure donors. Financing for the AICD was from a multidonor trust fund supported by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), Agence française de développement (AFD), the European Commission (EC), and the Germany KfW Entwicklungsbank. Numerous technical bodies at regional and national levels contributed to its implementation.

The study broke new ground, with primary data collection efforts covering network service infrastructures (ICT, power, water & sanitation, road transport, rail transport, sea transport, and air transport) from 2001 to 2006 in 24 selected African countries. Between them, these countries account for 85 percent of the sub-Saharan Africa population, GDP, and infrastructure inflows. The countries included in the initial study were: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

The study also represents an unprecedented effort to collect detailed economic and technical data on African infrastructure in relation to the fiscal costs of each of the sectors, future sector investment needs, and sector performance indicators. As a result, it has been possible for the first time to portray the magnitude of the continent’s infrastructure challenges and to provide detailed and substantiated estimates on spending needs, funding gaps, and the potential efficiency dividends to be derived from policy reforms.

The AICD’s main findings were synthesized in a Flagship Report entitled Africa’s Infrastructure: A Time for Transformation, published in November 2009. This report targeted policymakers and necessarily focused on high-level conclusions. The report attracted widespread media coverage, feeding directly into discussions at the 2009 African Union Commission Heads of State Summit on Infrastructure. The Flagship Report has helped to draw global attention to Africa’s infrastructure challenges and is shaping the way that policymakers view these sectors. In addition to the Flagship Report, the AICD has produced a wealth of analytical products available on this website. They include:

  • technical volumes with detailed findings on the ICT, power, transportation and water & sanitation sectors;
  • country reports analyzing infrastructure performance and funding gaps at the national level;
  • regional reports documenting the extent of regional integration of infrastructure networks;
  • a series of online databases, web-based models, and interactive atlases; and
  • numerous research papers

The World Bank implemented the AICD as a one-off special study. The Steering Committee in July 2008 recognized the strategic importance of sustaining the data collection effort on infrastructure in Africa. It therefore recommended that the diagnostic round of studies be extended to African countries not covered in the initial report, including those in North Africa over the period 2009–2010 (Phase II). It made the further recommendation that once the initial round had been completed, the project be transferred to the African Development Bank to serve as a repository of infrastructure data on Africa and to thereby ensure a sustainable collection of infrastructure indicators for the continent going forward.

The Africa Infrastructure Knowledge Program (AIKP), which has been initiated at the AfDB, builds on the AICD study. It adopts a longer-term perspective and provides a framework for generating knowledge on infrastructure on a more sustainable basis. The Bank will take the lead role in the regular collection and assessment of infrastructure indicators, the production of knowledge products, and the timely policy analysis of emerging infrastructure trends on the continent to guide future policy and funding decisions.

The overall role of the African Development Bank is to provide leadership for the African infrastructure data and information system. This involves: (i) enhancing the original AICD database into a long-term sustainable data system of infrastructure indicators, and (ii) defining and developing analytic knowledge products that would present and disseminate conclusions and findings to inform development policy and program management activities.


AICD Scope



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