Poor infrastructure has myriad implications for developing countries, ultimately hampering their chances of thriving in a global marketplace. This in turn increases the likelihood of poverty. Not only does poor infrastructure have negative economic ramifications for a country - there is a strong correlation between poor infrastructure and poor social care systems, among those education and healthcare. As we know, poor education has a direct impact on a country’s workforce. Thus, a trend begins to emerge and we find developing countries trapped in a somewhat cyclical pattern, from which it becomes increasingly difficult to extricate themselves.
When pared down to its essentials, infrastructure consists of the most basic support systems needed to keep a country’s economy ticking over. Such support systems include those things many of us give little or no thought to on a daily basis including roads, water-supply, waste management, communications and the like. Simply put, the stronger a country’s support system is, the better developed that country will be.
It does not do to forget the impact of war on the infrastructure of countries such as Iraq which saw the destruction of countless medical facilities and schools over the years. Nor should we forget the devastating effect natural disasters can have on a country's infrastructure. One need only look to Haiti to see the damage done to their infrastructure in the wake of the 2010 earthquake which saw the destruction of an estimated 30,000 commercial buildings.
The following list outlines the world's poorest countries in terms of infrastructure. If any of these countries are to thrive and prosper in the global marketplace, the inefficiency of their respective infrastructure systems needs to be tackled.
One of the strictest junta governments in the world is in power in Myanmar. Its isolation from the outside world has left the country in a dire situation, the Southeast Asian nation ranking among the 30 poorest nations in the world.
6 Burkina Faso
Located in West Africa, Burkina Faso has one of the worst health care systems in the world. The education system isn't much better with the nation’s enrollment rate of primary school students being among the lowest in the world. This, coupled with the country's inadequate infrastructure contribute to the nation’s weak economy.
Prior to the 2010 earthquake, Haiti was ranked 145th out of 169 countries in the UN Human Development Index, the lowest in the Western Hemisphere. The earthquake is estimated to have killed over 200,000 people, displaced 3 million victims and caused over $7 billion in damage. Shoddy construction is attributed as the main reason for the devastation caused. Four years on, Haiti is still struggling to rebuild.
A cholera epidemic has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Haitians over the past few years. As cholera spreads via contaminated drinking water, an outbreak on this scale can only be attributed to the country's poor infrastructure. Haiti had never built a sanitary infrastructure to protect its citizens from such diseases.
After more than 50 years of independence and bad governance Guinea is ranked 178th out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Infrastructure and services are 'inadequate, administration is weak and the private sector embryonic.'
3 Sierra Leone
In 2013, the World Economic Forum ranked 148 countries by the quality of their infrastructure based on roads, railroads, ports, airports and more. Angola made the 148th spot making in the country with the worst infrastructure overall.
Much of the country's infrastructure was damaged and neglected during Angola's long civil war. The post-conflict country's inability to deal with its burgeoning urbanisation has meant that over 40% of the urban population relies on an untreated water supply. Shockingly, vendors charge between $4 - $20 for untreated water supplies. This poses serious health risks for the citizens of Angola, not to mention the financial burden. Inadequate transmission and distribution infrastructure has meant that electricity does not flow to customers effectively, leaving many without.
Tiago Dionisio has highlighted how over the last decade, 'the Angolan authorities have undertaken huge investments in the rehabilitation of the road, railway, port and air infrastructure.' Continued investment could see Angola creep its way up the list and become a more relevant player in the South African economy.
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