WorldBank:Resilient infrastructure is critical to economies,well being

20Jun 2019
Felister Peter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
WorldBank:Resilient infrastructure is critical to economies,well being

TANZANIAN firms are incurring losses of 1.5trilion/- (USD 668 million) a year equivalent to 1.8 percent of GDP due to power and water outages, apart from transport disruptions, a new report by the World Bank has shown.

WorldBank

The report by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) attached to the World Bank said that almost half of transport disruptions in the country are due to floods, while flood-related transport disruptions cost more than $ 100 million per year.

The GFDRR Secretariat is housed at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. with satellite offices in Brussels, Tokyo and Geneva.

However, the World Bank report calls for low and middle income countries including Tanzania to invest in resilient infrastructure which would cost $ 4.2 trillion, but the benefit are $ 4 in each $ 1 invested.

The four essential infrastructure systems that governments should invest in are power, water and sanitation, transport and telecommunications.

Investing in resilient infrastructures will not only avoid costly repairs but also help to minimize wide-ranging consequences of natural disasters for the livelihoods and well-being of people, it said.

It said that outages or disruptions to power, water, communication and transport affect the productivity of firms, incomes, jobs plus direct impacts to people’s quality of life. Often it becomes impossible for children to go to school and contribute to spread of water-borne diseases like cholera.

World Bank Group President David Malpass said that resilient infrastructure is not about roads or bridges or power plants alone. “It is about the people, the households and the communities for whom this quality infrastructure is a lifeline to better health, better education and better livelihoods.”

He stated that investing in resilient infrastructure is about unlocking economic opportunities for people.

“This report offers a pathway for countries to follow for a safer, more secure, inclusive and prosperous future for all,” he said.

World Bank Senior Director for Climate Change, John Roome said infrastructure investors, whether governments, development banks or the private sector should understand that investing in resilient infrastructure is both sound and profitable. “It is not about spending more, but about spending better,” he declared.

Stephane Hallegatte, lead author of the report said it is cheaper and easier to build resilience if governments look beyond individual assets like bridges or electric poles, and understand the vulnerabilities of systems and users.

“In so doing, entire systems can be better designed and with greater flexibility so that damages are localized and do not spread through entire networks, crippling economies at large,” he pointed out.

The report also finds that the lack of resilient infrastructure harms people and firms more than previously understood.

Natural disasters, for instance, cause direct damages to power generation and transport infrastructure, costing about $ 18 billion a year in low- and middle-income countries.

Disruptions caused by natural hazards, as well as poor maintenance and mismanagement of infrastructure, costs households and firms at least $ 390 billion a year in low- and middle-income countries.

The report suggests that governments identify critical infrastructure assets and systems that resources can be directed toward them and build institutions that are resilient.

It demands that resilience be included in regulations and incentives as financial incentives can be used to ensure that the full social cost of infrastructure disruptions are accounted for.

Encouraging service providers to go beyond just meeting mandatory standards is vital, the report intoned.

According to the report, the right kind of financing at the right time is key because small amounts of resources can support regulators and be used at the early stages of infrastructure design compared to the billions needed to repair and recover in the aftermath of a disaster, it added.

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