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Submitted by Tesfaye on
Shanta: Thank you for sharing this thought provoking and timely topic. In my opinion, each African country has, of course, its own unique economic factors, capacity, stages and policies, which may determine its approach to infrastructure investment and growth plan. However, I hope African countries agree on the following principles: 1. Infrastructure growth is key to economic growth 2. An all out (100%) private or public ownership and management of infrastructure (transporattion, comm, power) may not always work. In fact, it could be harmful to economic growth (depending on the country's stage). 3. In principle a smart PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) model will be ideal to many countries. For instance, if we take the case of Ethiopia, the country will benefit if it opens up its telecom industry to the private sector (at least make it a share). This will bring to the country know-how, technology, management and technical skills, which is badly needed for ICT growth and proliferation. In fact, 100% state ownership could lead to corruption in addition to inefficency and lag in growth. On the other hand, full private ownership could also lead to risk such as restricted access to low income people, rent collection etc. Incidentally, if there was at least partial competion and private sector participation in the ICT sector and ETC (Eth. Telecom Corp) in Ethiopia, perhaps we would have gotten an efficent and less expensive Internet access by now, perhaps with more than 50% coverage. Compared to the huge investment the govt. spent on telecom, the reward has been meager and deplorable so far!