COVID-19 has laid bare yet another brutal truth: resilient systems across the globe, from healthcare to welfare, require a certain level of state capacity. Beyond the simple definition of the means to collect revenue, state capacity refers to the capability of countries to protect their citizens in times of crisis and to help them thrive in times of plenty. Boosting state capacity requires targeted initiatives that create positive externalities, such as connectivity and infrastructure projects. Better transport links, especially in rural areas, have – among other economic aspects – positive impacts on gender equality and the livelihoods of small-holder farmers, and improve access to education and youth empowerment.
In Kenya, the new Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway is predicted to cause long-term economic gain of up to 1.5% annually, and its construction – both directly and indirectly – created several thousand jobs. As the pandemic sees many infrastructure projects put on the back burner, now is the time to reassess and target specific, sustainable initiatives that can create wider net positives – crucial on the road to Agenda 2030.
- Can a multilateral, multi-stakeholder approach to connectvitiy initiatives work to support states with lower capacity?
- How does greater connectivity better equip areas most affected by climate change to better mitigate and adapt to its effects?
- Should Europe look to exapand its connectivity strategy and support initiatives in Africa, as well as Eurasia?
Regional Director for Uganda at the AVSI Foundation
Fadimatou Noutchemo Simo
Founder of the Young African Aviation Professional Association (YAAPA)
Public Affairs Manager at UNIFE – the Association of the European Rail Manufacturing Industry
Senior Transport Policy Advisor at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Senior Manager at Friends of Europe