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Building Bridges Out of Poverty How Can Infrastructure Development Strengthen Regional Integration To Overcome Poverty In Southern Africa

Trade & Development

This policy brief looks at the potential of southern Africa’s regional infrastructure interventions to achieve the overall objective to provide support to regional integration and contribute to poverty eradication.It also identifies knowledge and policy gaps that may exist with a view to recommend interventions to address them. The brief examines the transport, energy, water, and financing components of the regionalinfrastructure interventions. Regional cross-border infrastructure, in particular transport, energy and water, has the potential to facilitate intra-regional trade and investment, unlock national and regional comparative advantages, and address the special needs of landlocked countries to access to the rest of the world. New economic activities with them, thereby contributing to the spatial spreading of development.

A rural road, if complemented by other investments, can result in an increase in agricultural productivity and employment and therefore rural income. The development corridor approach that the southern African Development Committee (SADC) has adopted has the potential to reduce poverty because it opens a variety of development opportunities along the corridor especially if feeder roads are developed. The major constraint in road transport remains lack of adequate physical infrastructure, especially rural access roads. Better transport services resulting from improved roads provide the rural and urban poor with the possibility to participate in development opportunities, particularly access to jobs, markets, social services, educational and health facilities.

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