African infrastructures round-up

Lately African infrastructures, of all sorts, are becoming one of the most popular topics for those commenting on the state of the continent. I, at least, have a come across a number of different news and reports pointing out new developments, the impact of Chinese investment, new European and World Bank support for large-scale investment (1970s-style), communication infrastructures, etc.
So I thought I would put all of this together in a mini-round up of recent (and old) news about different aspects of African infrastructures:
Internet and Broadband
Online Africa is definitely the place to go for all internet things related: they, for example, report on the award given to the ubiquitous SEACOM for the best Pan-African initiative. They also have a section with plenty of maps showing internet bandwith connections and undersea cables.
Subsaharska has also reported on the Central African Backbone, with the latest news been posted yesterday – a follow up to the first post from two months ago.
Undersea broadband cables


I have written here before about the Desertec Foundation‘s plan to turn the Saharan desert into a massive energy plan, and also about Congo’s vision – with World Bank support – for a massive Great Inga Dam which would have a massive ecological impact and whose power may be going, not to Africa, but Europe.
Oil continues to have a crucial importance, and the biggest African exporter, Nigeria, is undergoing a critical reform of this sector with the promotion of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Africa-Confidential reports.
Road Transportation

After decades in which African roads were left unattended, and their state declined rapidly, a new interest has appeared in fixing the existing infrastructures, and building new ones. In Nigeria, ex-President Obasanjo has showed his concern for the state of the country’s roads.
One of the key areas of Chinese investment on the continent is the creation of infrastrucries, as we have pointed before, and very recently pledged $349 millon for building a highway in Ethiopia linking the capital to the city of Adama.
European countries are also turning their attention to roads, and a few months ago, the UK pledged $1 billion to rebuilid 8,500km of roads and over 500km of railways accross eight different African countries.
Rail Transportation
Mozambique Sena Rail line has been recently reopened, linking the coal mines in Moatize with the port of Beira, which is giving neglected areas a much needed boost. This contrasts with the crumbling state of other East African railways, for example in Kenya, as today’s post on A Bombastic Element notes. For more information and news on African railways, you can visit this site.
The problems which poor transport infrastructure have for a country’s economy and trade are highlighted on this article on The Monitor (Uganda) signalling why the Kampala-Mombasa (Northern Corridor) is preffered to the Kampala-Dar-es-Salam one, harming thus the Tanzanian economy.
A view of the newly rebuilt Sena Line. – Photo: Stewart Currie (Railways Africa)

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