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Africa’s N — Networks

What effect are weak networks having on Africa’s development?

February 23, 2005

What effect are weak networks having on Africa's development?

With the exception of South Africa, the region has a very low population density.

One consequence of this geographic dispersion is that transport costs to and from Africa — and even more between African destinations — are extremely high by international standards.

That is both a cause, and a result, of the low density and sketchy networks of people that exist on the continent.

Given that situation, foreign investment can act as a crucial "network connector." Where conditions are right, small export processing zones can grow — and morph into increasingly prosperous manufacturing clusters.

Any investment that connects parts of Africa more closely to worldwide networks is vital — because it provides additional opportunities and lower costs for Africans.