Roads, electric power lines and water pipes, as well as mobile phone networks are all part of the infrastructure of a country, and can be seen as the arteries of the economy. A lack of infrastructure and poor infrastructure are obstacles to development.
This is why many less developed countries have practically no industry. Industry, but also agriculture, needs an extensive and stable infrastructure to produce and transport goods. Time and time again infrastructure projects are implemented around the world – but many are not planned on a sustainable basis, which can end up have extremely negative impacts on surrounding communities and the natural environment. Poor, and excessively expensive internet denies people access to important information. Economic growth or technical innovation are then effectively precluded.
What must be done?
Sustainable industrialisation does much to generate economic growth and create jobs. ‘Sustainable’ means ensuring that a minimum of important natural resources are used and that environmentally friendly technologies are adopted. Companies can only do this, however, if they can take out loans and if they have access to attractive markets. In the rural parts of many developing countries in particular, there is thus an urgent need to expand infrastructure, but not at the expense of the environment or the local people. By 2020 as many people as possible around the world are to be enabled to use the internet as a ‘gateway to the world’. Research and innovation must be constantly fostered.
Facts and figures
- In many African countries the lack of infrastructure makes companies about 40 per cent less productive.
- Less than 30 per cent of the rural population of the least developed countries have access to internet via third generation (3G) mobile broadband networks.
- Investment in research and development has risen in recent years – in developed regions the figure has risen to 2.4 per cent of GDP, and in the least developed and landlocked developing countries to less than 0.3 per cent.