Infrastructural development among the countries in Africa has long been though to be a path to economic growth for these nations . The rate of industrialization in the region has been shown to depend on the quality of such infrastructural facilities as electricity, water and public transportation – what is more, the lagged pace of industrialization for many of the countries on the continent, has severally been attributed to “insufficient infrastructural development” . Good infrastructure has been empirically associated with low transaction costs, which in turn have been found to render production methods evermore efficient – a positive correlation has also been demonstrated between infrastructural development and foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into countries to the east of the continent .
Certain elements of infrastructure, amongst them transportation, information and communications technology (ICT), water, and sanitation, have been studied for their potential to instigate “social development” in African localities . A theory from Anthropology holds that such infrastructural forms serve a purpose beyond the practical functions for which they were intended – these forms have been held to operate aesthetically with an end to “conveying meaning and inciting affective reactions” amongst the classes users that would benefit from them . As an example of social development, the influx of African women into the workplace has been influenced a great deal by the ameliorating state of infrastructure across many African countries. Good infrastructure has been associated with a more efficient use of factors of production such as labor – and the possibility for African women to work outside of the home has been positively influenced by relevant and meaningful developments in areas of transportation, healthcare, and communications across the continent . Many a cultural upheaval has been brought about as the activities of human life on the continent have adapted to accommodate the existence and attendant benefits of infrastructural development in the region.
By 2018, the International Labor Organization (ILO), held that about 88% of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa, was unemployed . The extent of this phenomenon has previously been interpreted to indicate a decay in the social facilities that would typically have found some productive use for the many African individuals who have been unable to obtain gainful employment in the formal sectors of their respective economies . Ignoring the social implications of infrastructural development has been argued to be the cause of decay in the capacity for local communities on the continent to constructively engage their populations in materially beneficial economic activities . The aesthetic implications of owning / participating in infrastructural development, could very well be argued to have long outcompeted autochthonous modes of economic identity development on the continent. Case in point: amongst the populations in the region where owning an automobile has been shown to produce a specific economic identity, the potential for reliance on pack animals to produce this specific variant of employment could well be found to be under imminent threat. The meanings and affective reactions elicited by engagement in / association with infrastructural development in Africa, will probably continue to undermine longstanding social facilities for economic identity production across local populations on the continent. And to this end, further infrastructural development on the continent will ironically continue to result in further material unemployment for its inhabitants.
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