Boosting Infrastructure Investments in Africa
, World Economics, June 2011
The absolute and relative lack of infrastructure in Africa suggests that the continent’s competitiveness could be boosted by scaling up investments in infrastructure. Such investments would facilitate domestic and international trade, enhance Africa’s integration into the global economy and promote better human development outcomes, especially, by bringing unconnected rural communities into the mainstream economy. While there are yawning gaps in all infrastructure subsectors, inadequate energy supply is directly correlated to low education levels, poor health outcomes, as well as limited economic opportunities and technology choices. Efforts by government to invest in infrastructure have proved inadequate to close the infrastructure gap. These investment opportunities have not been seized by the private sector due to the unfavourable business environment, poor incentives and regulatory frameworks. Therefore, Africa’s infrastructure challenge is not only in closing the huge financing gap, but also in building the necessary skills and capacity to attract investments. Although scaling up infrastructure investments offers the private sector enormous opportunities, unlocking these investments should be preceded by appropriate policy and structural reforms. The good news is that there is hope, and current developments are signalling an increased awareness by African governments. Development partners should therefore take advantage of the increasing political will for reform through knowledge and capacity building activities, especially, in fragile and post-conflict countries where the need is greatest.
Keywords: Africa, Aid, Bonds, Communications, Competitiveness, Development, Development strategy, Egypt, Energy, FDI, Growth, Growth strategies, Hydropower, Infrastructure, Investment, Kenya, Nigeria, Power, South Africa, Sub-saharan Africa, Supply side development, Tanzania, Transport, Water
Should Fuel Taxes Be Scrapped in Favor of Pay-by-the-Mile Charges?
, World Economics, September 2005
This paper discusses the appropriate balance between traditional gasoline taxes and charging by the mile, focusing on economic efficiency considerations. It begins with a brief discussion of the five major passenger vehicle issues of concern—local pollution, greenhouse warming, oil dependency, traffic congestion, and traffic accidents—and summarizes evidence on the dollar value costs of these problems for passenger vehicles in the United States. It then discusses how much fuel taxation might be justified to account for them, as well as how much taxation might be appropriate on fiscal grounds, assuming per mile charges are unavailable. Finally, it discusses to what extent fuel taxation should be replaced with per mile taxes.
Keywords: Automobiles, Cars, Cities, Climate change, Congestion, Environment, Externality, Global warming, Green, Infrastructure, Motoring, Pollution, Tax, Traffic
Congestion Charging: Utopia vs. Reform
, World Economics, June 2003
The debate about road use charging continues. No simple and effective proposal
to limit center-city congestion has attracted popular support. The economic case
for reducing vehicle congestion in towns and cities is indisputable, as shown in
the recent article by Begg and Gray, but their solution could take a generation to
implement. The present article proposes using existing infrastructure to create a
low-tech, flexible and country-wide method of limiting the use of automobiles in
the centers of cities at specified times and in easily defined areas.
Keywords: Automobiles, Cars, Cities, Congestion, Environment, Externality, Green, Infrastructure, Motoring, Tax, Traffic
The Case for Congestion Charging
& David Gray
, World Economics, September 2002
Car use has grown significantly in the UK in recent years, raising concerns about pollution and congestion. Although existing fiscal measures have been effective in tackling the former, the UK now has the worst traffic congestion in Europe. The economic costs of congestion are considerable, and motorists are not covering the external costs of the congestion they cause. Although local charging schemes are set to be introduced, local authorities first need to implement a daunting list of requisites. The paper argues that there is more economic merit in introducing a nation-wide system of congestion charging. Congestion would be cut by 44% and overall traffic levels by 5%. Importantly, the scheme would not increase the overall tax burden on motorists.
Transport, Access and Economic Growth
Karl W. Steininger
, World Economics, June 2002
Transport and gross domestic product have grown at roughly a one-to-one
relationship in the past. Many decision-makers consider the supply of transport
infrastructure an important ingredient in fostering productivity and economic
growth; some even consider it a prerequisite. This article analyses the various
causal links from transport to economic growth and puts their empirical
significance in perspective. The more important challenge for current transport
policy, however, is found to be that concerning the reverse linkage, i.e.—given a growing economy—how can we develop a transport system that does not then
erode the benefits it created in the first place? Finally, and to that end, a possible future system of sustainable access and mobility service is characterized and policy conclusions are drawn.
The Modern Motor Industry: Nowhere for the inefficient to hide
, World Economics, March 2001
The motor industry is experiencing one of its periods of massive change. This
involves considerable micro- and macroeconomic effects, reflecting the structure
and behaviour of the industry and its scale of operations within an economy. The
industry is a highly rivalrous oligopoly, where although there is product
differentiation, competition, both price and non-price, is considerable. This
impacts upon the nature of vehicle demand, including environmental issues.
Supply conditions in the industry generate interesting data on short-run and long-run economies of scale issues. The analysis is on a global basis, where new
manufacturing centres are appearing. Continued consolidation has occurred and
this affects the UK which is representative of most auto making centres in that
enterprises are controlled by foreign owned multinationals.
Keywords: Britain, British, Car, Competition, Differentiation, Globalisation, Globalization, Manufacturing, Multinationals, Oligopoly, Technology, UK