Nigeria’s improvement in the Africa Development Bank (ADB)’s 2018 infrastructural development index (AIDI) to 21.63 over a total score of 100 in 2017 from 11.96 in 2010 is seen as insufficient.
According to the ADB, virtually all major countries improved their scores in the AIDI 2018, though at different rates due to the major improvement in the Information and communication sector (ICT).
Countries such as Egypt, South Africa and Libya did better in the index by scoring 85.35, 79.27 and 79.27 respectively
Ibrahim Tajudeem, Head of Research, Chapel Hill Denham said, “It is an improvement but it is can be a lot better than what it is. But the key thing is that given the potential of Nigeria in terms of size of the economy, population, demography, and the economic indicator the country has the potential to have recorded a more significant improvement in infrastructure over the periods they have researched.”
Tajudeem said nothing should stop Nigeria from being number one. Since Africa’s most populous nation is number one on listed economic and demographic indicators, it should also be number one in infrastructure because naturally, the population growth rate indicates that more houses and social amenities are need.
“Relative to other African countries, Nigeria is the biggest in terms of output but what they are using to get these outputs is infrastructure. So with the little infrastructure that we have, we have managed to be the biggest in terms of economy size,” Tajudeem explained.
ADB introduced the AIDI to monitor the status and progress of infrastructural development across the Africa continent which is made of 54 countries using four indicators which are electricity, transport, ICT, water supply and sanitation.
Nigeria improved marginally from 11.96 in 2010 to 14.70 in 2011, 15.94 in 2012, 17.58 in 2013, 19.35 in 2014, 20.45 in 2015, 20.60 in 2016 and 21.63 in 2017.
In 2017, the country was ranked 23rd out of the 54 countries scoring 2.79, 5.10, 20.32 and 43.51in electricity, transport, ICT ,water supply and sanitation indicators respectively which dragged its score to 21.63.
“Well this is an improvement but a far cry from where we ought to be and this is very worrisome as any economy that desires a meaningful growth will focus a lot on improving infrastructure. The ranking reflects the inadequate funding for infrastructure,” Ayodeji Ebo, MD, Afrinvest Securities Limited said
The poor state of infrastructure in Nigeria is further buttressed by the understanding that the optimal proportion of infrastructure stock to GDP is at about 70 percent but current level in Nigeria is between 20 – 25 percent.
Infrastructure is important for faster economic growth and alleviation of poverty in the country. The adequate infrastructure in the form of road and railway transport system, ports, power, airports and their efficient working is also needed for integration of the Nigerian economy with other economies of the world.
On improving the country’s ranking Tajudeem said, “We need more spending and commitment in infrastructure by the government and private sector to boost economic growth and development.”