We believe that an educated population generally makes better preventative health decisions; adopts better family planning practices without the need for separate family planning support services and is able to pay for quality services including healthcare by virtue of higher incomes.
An educated population also creates the space for an entrepreneurial wave who can partner with governments to provide services; fosters a strong civil society that can demand accountability from all levels of leadership; creates a middle-class with higher disposable incomes who help to expand the market as seen in the property boom in Ghana and beyond; contributes more to the fiscus and thereby additional welfare services; leads to higher personal savings and investments which benefits both individuals and financial intermediaries and creates a modern ICT-based economy rather than a cash based one, among several other benefits.
Poor infrastructure is costing Africa billions of dollars. Unreliable power and power outages reduce productivity and output and raises the cost of doing business.
Infrastructure development has countless multiple benefits. Good roads means that a pregnant woman in labour can get to the hospital on time; it means produce can reach the groceries stores in good condition; it means urban cities can be decongested with development spreading into the outskirts; etc.
Infrastructure development does not only refer to new investments. It also includes operations and maintenance, which are often lacking in Africa. We build highways and power plants but fail to maintain them. Infrastructure (rural and urban) is without a doubt a game changer and what is most attractive is that its benefits can be realised in the short to medium term.
Nonetheless, it is cost-intensive and we know that public resources are scarce and donor aid is not always reliable or desirable. Scaling up on infrastructure and education means that some difficult trade-offs need to be made. For example, countries trying to embark on universal health coverage (a tremendous expense) and new social welfare programmes may want to put that on the back burner and focus on the essential sectors until we reach a turning point in our development trajectory.