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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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Are there 70-million people in South Africa?

The last census estimated that there were 52-million people in SA. Recent reports cited claims by an academic that 20-million people weren’t counted.

How many people are there in South Africa? The country’s last census, conducted in 2011, estimated that there were 51.8-million people in the country. The latest population estimates put the number at 54-million. But could the population be as high as 70-million?

Eric Nealer, a professor of public administration and management at the University of South Africa (Unisa), certainly thinks so. The Afrikaans newspaper Beeld and website Netwerk24 recently published an article about his claims.

The last census estimated that there were 52-million people in SA. Recent reports cited claims by an academic that 20-million people weren’t counted.

Nealer, they reported, believes Rand Water, a Gauteng province water utility, may not have the capacity to provide water for the uncounted millions. “There are possibly 70-million people in South Africa and not 51.8-million as shown in the 2011 census,” the report read.

Could there be an extra 20-million people in the country? We looked into the claim and compared the numbers.

What is the claim based on?

Nealer told Africa Check that there had been:

• A 20% undercount in the 2011 census, which would add another 10.5-million people

• Yearly population growth of 2%, which would add another 4-million people

• The “counted number of illegal immigrants”, which would add another 6-million people.

On this basis, Nealer concluded that there are an additional 20.5-million people in South Africa. This, according to his calculations, would bring the country’s total population to 72.5-million people.

He told Africa Check that it was necessary for him to “play devil’s advocate in warning our macro planners about the growing and now also seemingly unmonitored population of the country”. He did not provide evidence to support any of his claims.

Undercount: 10.5-million people

Nealer claims that there was an undercount of 20% in the last census. “Stats SA has acknowledged an undercount in each and every census they carried out … I cannot but think that we again had an undercount of at least 20% in the 2011 census,” Nealer wrote in an email.

He’s half right. Stats SA has reported undercounts in every census it has conducted. In 1996 a 10% undercount was reported and it jumped to 17.9% in 2001. But in 2011 the undercount was 14.6%, not 20% as Nealer claims. Undercounts this high aren’t good. Stats SA notes that the average undercount in African countries and globally is less than 5%.

Stats SA uses what is known as Post Enumeration Survey to determine the extent of an undercount or overcount. The survey is conducted immediately after the census to evaluate the quality of census data and provides a statistical basis for adjusting census data, such as population estimates.

Nealer did not provide any evidence to support this claim. But it appears that he has wrongly concluded that an undercount percentage was not used to adjust the census population estimates.

Angela Ngyende, the demography manager at Stats SA , told Africa Check that the population estimate of 51.8-million people had taken the 14.6% undercount into consideration.

While there was controversy surrounding the release of the 2011 census data, we were unable to find evidence to support Nealer’s claim.

Population growth: 4-million people

Nealer has also relied on a higher, unsubstantiated population growth estimate. “Taking into account the lack of effective counting of citizens in the country the current population growth figure … of 1.5% is also debatable”, said Nealer. He consequently based his calculations on his own annual population growth rate estimate of “approximately 2%”.

In 2014, Stats SA estimated that the population growth rate was 1.58% and that there were 54-million people in South Africa.

Dr Latifat Ibisomi, from the University of the Witwatersrand’s Department of Demography and Population Studies, told Africa Check that Nealer needed to back up his claim. “We rely on Stats SA’s number. They have calculated that figure and if anyone else has opinions or other estimates then they should prove them,” she said.

Illegal immigrants: 6-million people

Nealer told Africa Check that while official figures showed around 5-million illegal immigrants in South Africa, he believed this number was “debatable”. He estimated the number of illegal immigrants to be 6-million.

Professor Loren Landau, director of the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of the Witwatersrand, told Africa Check that “there’s no reason to believe that there are 6-million ‘illegals’ [living in South Africa]”.

“While the census figure is almost certainly an undercount, it corresponds to most of the other data points we’ve seen. Moreover, I’ve never seen any justification for a particular, higher figure,” he added. The 2011 census estimated that there were 2.3-million foreign born nationals living in South Africa.

The census counts both legal and illegal immigrants as noted by a Stats SA 2011 discussion document. Diego Iturralde, executive manager for demography at Stats SA, told Africa Check that “some undocumented migrants may have avoided the census enumerators for fear of their personal data being passed onto the authorities and hence the 2.3-million may be marginally higher”.

However, he said that this would have been compensated for by the Post Enumeration Survey.

The vast majority of immigrants – legal and illegal – would have been counted in the last census and were included in the 2011 population estimate.

Conclusion – The claim cannot be substantiated

Nealer’s claim that there are 72-million people in South Africa cannot be substantiated. The most recent census data suggests there are currently 54-million people in the country.

Nealer used questionable census undercount percentages, population growth rates and illegal immigrant numbers to support his claim. Although he said that he would provide evidence to support his claims, he did not do so.

Source: Mail & Guardian