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East Africa: Kenya, Ethiopia Bet On Technology Transfer in Their Railway Projects

Road is one of the major component of infrastructural facilities which allows the movement of goods and services to markets. The flow of people, knowledge and skill from place to place has a positive impact on socio-economic progress. The expansion of modern roads also plays key role in attracting investment. Contrary to this, the inadequate construction of roads has its own demerit as it decelerates progress.

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Addis Ababa is the political and diplomatic capital for Africa. The city is rapidly witnessing a socio-economic progress. The progress can be observed in the mushrooming of manufacturing firms, real estates, services and residential centres inside and in the environs of the city. Population growth, due to natural birth and rural urban migration, necessitates the provision of infrastructure such as roads and others. The role of the city as a global political centre obligates the expansion of modern roads.

As part of the transportation system, vehicles used in the city also need convenient roads to serve people and to prolong their life span. It is known that roads that are not repaired and that have dilapidated shorten the life span of vehicles. In addition, they cause traffic accidents with tragic ends.

Due to accidents the loss of human life impose unbearable social and economic cost. Also, the importation of spare parts for damaged cars could consume the nation’s meagre hard currency. Thus equipping the city with modern roads can bring a remedy.

Cognizant of this fact, the Addis Ababa City Government has been constructing new roads and upgrading the existing ones for a long time now. The opening of new roads to the traffics has brought positive impact in facilitating transport net works and slashing down transaction costs.

The recent inaugural of eight roads and bridges at various parts of the city plays crucial role in meeting the aforementioned objectives. The cost for all the road projects was covered by the city government and four of the projects were (carried out) by the City Road Authority and the rest are constructed by other private contractors.

Aside from the benefits mentioned above, the translation of the projects into actions contributes in developing local engineering and architectural capacity and help to raise self confidence.

Currently, though local construction companies are mushrooming still big road projects are given to the foreign companies due to lack of technical and capacity limitations. As a result, the nation spends considerable amount of hard currency for the importation of skills and technologies. Thus, in the long run, strengthening local construction capacity can help to substitute skills being imported by local ones.

The road projects also create job opportunities for various companies with their different type of professionals from highly qualified engineers and architectures to technicians and daily labourers.

The experience gained from the projects also helps companies to enhance their competitiveness. The value chain created because of the projects also facilitates market opportunity with other stakeholders. Cement industries gain a lot and enjoy markets being created. Stone crushers and transport providers, which are connected to markets, will similarly enjoy the opportunity created.

In our context, there is a need for modern roads as the national economy is rapidly growing. In addition to that, as long as the transportation demand is increasing as per population growth, putting in place road to meet the demand is mandatory so that the construction sector will be robust. However, when talking about road construction, raising issues that hamper the speedy accomplishment of the projects are vital.

As we know, due to various reasons, most projects are not completed on time. Among others dispute settlement is the major obstacle that bog down the construction work.

The removal of utility service equipment such as telephone and electric poles takes time creating havoc on the job. According to some sources, some utility equipment even if installed against the master plan of the city, some owner institutions of the equipment show reluctance in removing the materials. Because of this, the work of the project will be prolonged. This in turn impose additional operation cost on the government. Additional public money will be spent to accomplish the projects.

The other thing, which contributes for the delay is settling the dispute with the third party arises in the process of the removal of residential houses. Residents that live in the kebele houses easily move to the alternate residential places with minimum time. However, addressing the issue with regard to private houses takes too much time.

Particularly compensating owners prove a bit complicated and evaluating the value of the house by engineers and getting the restitution money further prolong the matter worse. If the case goes to court, waiting until the issue is resolved takes time. As a result, the additional money being spent for the completion of the construction further drains the government coffer.

Thus, for the speedy accomplishment of the projects the courts should diligently do their business by shortening the adjourning procedure. The other thing that the construction work should pay attention to is considering the durability of roads. As it is known, the city is located at an elevated topographical landscape with various rugged places. This makes the city to be vulnerable to torrential rain falls and floods particularly during the rainy season.

This has its own impact on the infrastructures more and more on roads. If construction is carried out regardless of this, it can be easily demolish and maintaining the damage again will consume time and money.

By now observing damaged roads, which affect vehicle’s functioning is not uncommon. According to some sources, the substandard construction of the roads shorten the life span of the roads. The huge traffic flow as well has its own impact on the road’s durability. And considering all these, it is vital to enhance the contribution of the sector to the nation Growth Domestic Production.

Summing up, expanding roads has various positive outcome which support economic progress. Strengthening the sector is essential and to that end all stakeholders must support the scheme.

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Source: allafrica


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Water Is the Climate Challenge, Says World Bank

How will climate change affect you? Probably through water.

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That’s the major message of a new World Bank report that finds the way governments treat water can have a profound effect on the economy.

Good water management could lead to a six percent increase in global GDP by 2050, while bad management – or simply business as usual in some places – could reduce GDP by as much as 14 percent in the Middle East, 12 percent in the Sahel, and 11 percent in Central Asia. Poor water policy could even lead to sustained declines in GDP in some places, via losses in agriculture, health, income, and property.

The basic problem is that demand is ever increasing while supply remains finite. In addition, supply  is becoming harder to predict as climate change shifts rainfall patterns. Without major improvements in water efficiency, global demand could exceed supplies by 40 percent over the next 15 years.

To assess how climate change will affect water supply, the authors modeled water runoff in 235 river basins under different conditions and emission scenarios. They then compared those changes to current conditions to identify the most vulnerable regions. For example, Colombia is expected to see a considerable decline in runoff, but the current level of rainfall is already so high, the risks are considered minimal. For arid countries like Iraq, the same decline could have much more severe consequences.

A broad belt stretching from West Africa through the Middle East and South Asia to Japan encompasses the most vulnerable countries. Many of these countries’ river basins, home to 60 percent of the world’s population, already exist in a “state of near-permanent water stress.”

Supply and Demand

To narrow the gap between supply and demand, the World Bank recommends expanding supply, such as by building more physical infrastructure, like dams. But it also cautions that without corresponding efforts to manage use, demand tends to increase at the same rate, leading to little change in water dependence. (Indeed, though the bank is primarily focused on infrastructure and economic policy, others have noted the importance of social change to improving water security and climate adaptation.)

Water pricing is commonly misunderstood

Governments have several options to address the demand side. There are top-down planning and regulatory schemes, and bottom-up pricing and permitting changes. In areas of scarcity, groundwater withdrawals should be monitored and managed to increase performance and avoid pumping aquifers dry. The authors also recommend making it easier to import food in countries that have “no comparative advantage in food production where water resources are being degraded in the attempt to force increases in food supply.”

Market-based solutions, such as changing pricing and incentive structures, are also a part of the answer, according to the World Bank. The report says water pricing is commonly misunderstood. Where water is free or extremely cheap, poor people tend to be worse off and inefficiency and environmental degradation increase.

The Middle East, for example, is the most water-scarce region in the world, which should encourage users to take advantage of every last drop. But the opposite is true. Very low water prices and high subsidies, especially for irrigation, are in part responsible for the worst water productivity rates in the world. Some worry that Yemen, where many farmers have replaced grape vines with more water-intensive qhat, will become the first modern country to literally run out of water.

About Conflict and Migration…

The report makes clear connections between the physical processes of climate change and hydrology and socio-economic results, including economic growth, poverty alleviation, and inequality. These links are especially compelling coming from an organization that plays a leading role in international trade, investment, and financing for developing countries.

One place where the report’s arguments are a little loose is the small section on migration and conflict. Civil conflict and instability are invoked throughout the report as potential consequences of ignoring water concerns. Violent conflict and migration can result from food price spikes, drought, floods, and income inequality, according to the report.

There are indeed legitimate concerns around these kinds of risks (see the New Climate for Peace report for a comprehensive breakdown of seven), but there are also many open questions about how exactly climate change affects stability and human mobility.Oversimplifying these complex interactions can lead to poor policy and unintended consequences.

In one case, the report also seems to misstate one of its supporting pieces of evidences, citing a study that founddemocratic institutions improved after rainfall declines to argue that rainfall shocks, “by straining government budgets,” make “regime change more likely” and “ignite conflicts.”

In their Climate Change Action Plan, released early last month, the World Bank committed to producing a “flagship analytical report” on climate change, migration, and conflict next year, so perhaps we will see a fuller treatment of these dynamics then.

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How to use product life cycle analysis to your advantage. (David Baggs)

Source: environmentalleader


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