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COMCEC Transport and Communications

Outlook 2019


Transport infrastructure is crucial for both economic and social development of the nations and

“quality infrastructure is a key pillar of international competitiveness” (OECD, 2012). It is

therefore not surprising to see that developing transport infrastructure is assessed as a

powerful instrument for a wide variety of policy goals such as reducing logistics costs, poverty

(through enhancing rural road infrastructure) and congestion, and enabling the mobility of the

workforce, etc. The problems associated with the transport infrastructure vary across the

nations. For developed nations, for example, the major transportation problem is to sustain the

aging infrastructure in the most cost-effective way and to maintain their competitive power

through efficient transport networks. For least developed nations, the major concern is to

establish a transportation infrastructure by meeting at least the basic needs.

The variation in the needs of transportation infrastructure across the OIC countries is in parallel

with the situation outlined above. On the one hand, there is a group of oil producing gulf

countries with high income per capita and relatively smaller areas (except Saudi Arabia). On the

other hand, there is a large pool of OIC countries with low income per capita and relatively larger

areas, mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa. The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018 (WEF,

2017) of the World Economic Forum provides evidence on this gap. Four of the seven best

performing OIC countries (i.e. United Arab Emirates (UAE), Malaysia, Bahrain, Qatar, Turkey,

Azerbaijan, and Saudi Arabia) in terms of quality of transport infrastructure are oil producing

gulf countries. On the other hand, nine out of eleven worst performing OIC countries (i.e. Benin,

Cameroon, Chad, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and

Yemen) in the same measure are from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Table 2 presents the variation in the quality of transport infrastructure and services in terms of

indexes among the 36 OIC countries (i.e. 11 countries fromOIC-Sub-Saharan Africa, 16 fromOIC-

MENA, and 9 from OIC-Asia). The indexes range from 1 to 7, where 1 represents the extremely

underdeveloped infrastructure and 7 stands for extensive and efficient infrastructure by

international standards.

Second column of Table 2 shows the indexes for the quality of roads whereas the rest of the

columns provide comparable indexes for railroad, port, and air transport services, respectively.

One implication of Table 2 OIC-MENA performs better than OIC averages in every. Finally, the

superior performance of OIC-Asia in the quality of railroad infrastructure is noteworthy.