STREAM: The Infrastructure Question
Physical infrastructure is at the top of the policy agenda across Africa. The investment is made in a dynamical space – many interconnected and fast-changing nodes. Consequently, most challenges of infrastructure do not admit long-term closed solutions. Following long-term trajectory of returns leads to severe stresses, and we see these stresses in major projects across Africa. The solution is an incremental and reflexive approach. However, the policy and management structures on which these projects are funded hardly admit incremental and reflexive strategies. These strategies would place enormous cost at the outset of projects – they require deep expertise. Rather, the orthodox approach is to set a wrong trajectory, knowingly or otherwise, and then deal with the ensuing stresses down the road. This is akin to the ‘hiding hand’ of Albert Hirschman. Therefore, we must ask, to what extent must we confront the reality of dynamical space of infrastructure investment at the start of projects?
The question above is interdisciplinary. It appeals to sociological and economic attributes of the actors. We seek to capture pockets of cases across Africa – from the unique disciplinary perspective of scholars and practitioners.
If you have any queries or suggestions please contact Fred Amonya (Fred.Amonya@lyciar.com). For panels and papers please await the official call for papers, which is expected in September 2017.