Brakes and levers for the development of essential services in Africa

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Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki
Chief Executive Officer, African Union Development Agency

There are a range of factors that explain why Africa is lagging behind in terms of access to essential services: limited institutional capacities of African states and extreme centralization of decision-making processes, sparsity of institutional and technological support for innovation, and absence of legislation designating these services as common goods. Added to this are difficulties in financing such services, at a time when a number of countries are cutting their development aid budgets.

But, bolstered by its resilience and innovation capacity, the continent boasts formidable resources that allow it to innovate and build new ways of access to services for the future, especially through supporting the capacity of citizens and SMEs for bottom-up innovation and through improvements to previously weak fiscal systems. These priorities are clear in the AUDA-NEPAD vision, which promotes multisectoral approaches, supports technological innovations and leverages impact assessments to convince other actors to commit to projects that are all-embracing and innovative.