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Will Infrastructure Boost African Growth? Maybe Not, Says Economist

File image of a refugee from South Sudan carrying her child on her back while working at her vegetable crops in Kalobeyei settlement for refugees in Turkana County, Kenya. Luis TATO / AFP

The Kenyan economist David Ndii published a fascinating paper casting doubt on one of the most fundamental assumptions in Africa-China relations: that the key to boosting growth is infrastructure.

Ndii, a prominent critic of the ‘first build a road’ infrastructure-focused orthodoxy, compared development outputs between Africa and South Asia. He argues that instead of trying to emulate Asia’s low-wage manufacturing model, Africa should focus on agriculture-led growth.

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