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While it ranks last, Botswana is still considered one of the Top 10 performers in Africa in terms of infrastructure development.
As part of its infrastructure development efforts, the African Development Bank introduced an Africa Infrastructure Index (AIDI) to monitor the status and progress of infrastructure development across the continent. The Index’s major components are electricity, transport, ICT and water and sanitation. The ICT sector has driven the most improvements in the AIDI ratings over the past decade, compared to all other sectors. The top ten countries in the latest AIDI were those with the highest growth in their ICT sectors. In terms of telecomm infrastructure, the 2005-2010 period saw a very high growth for mobile telephony, marked by the emergence of new operators in the market, massive growth in coverage extensions, higher broadband speeds, as well as increase in subscriptions. The 2010-2015 period witnessed the development of new submarine and regional overland cables, which provided huge new capacity around coastal Africa, as well as facilitating mobile operator consolidation.
While its score has waxed and waned marginally, for three years now, Botswana has held on to position 10 in the Composite Africa Infrastructure Development Index. In 2016, it scored 35.631, dropped to 36.607 last year and this year rose to 36.793. The only other SADC countries in the Top 10 are Seychelles, South Africa and Mauritius. The loadshedding spells of 2016 that plunged the entire country into darkness did the same with Botswana’s score in the Electricity Index. Managing to score only 1.40, Botswana fell to position 38 but as problems at Morupule B Power Station were fixed, the country shot up to position 9 last year, scoring 17.59. This year, it both went one place up and continued to improve its score - to 21.52. As regards the Transport Index, Botswana has held steady to position 6 between 2016 and 2018, scoring 24.46, 22.52 and 22.29 respectively. In the ICT Index, its ranking has improved from position 10 in 2016 (with a score of 14.666) to position 9 in 2017 (23.586) and position 8 (30.625) this year. In the Water Supply and Sanitation Index, the country has declined and stabilised from position 5 in 2016 with a score of 79.91, to position 7 for both 2017 and 2018 with a score of 80.76 and 80.82 respectively.
Above Botswana are Seychelles, Egypt, Libya, South Africa, Mauritius, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Cabo Verde. These countries “are characterized principally by a robust investment performance in all sectors.” Southern Africa is the best performing sub-region to emerge, followed by West Africa.
The AIDI serves three key objectives: to monitor and evaluate the status and progress of infrastructure development across the continent; to assist in resource allocation within the framework of the Bank’s Africa Development Fund replenishments; and to contribute to policy dialogue within the Bank and between the Bank, African countries and development partners. Infrastructure development in Africa is seen to contribute significantly to human development, poverty reduction, and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Investment in infrastructure accounts for over half of the recent improvements in economic growth in Africa and has the potential to contribute even more.