American citizens have the luxury to access anything they desire with almost no worries about things going wrong. They have easy access to water, transportation, food, technology, currency and all levels of education. However, developing countries still do not have these same luxuries and are behind the curve. These countries are still often overlooked and are faced with everyday inadequacies in various aspects of their lives. Throughout this paper, the reader will gain more information about the impact of deficient infrastructure, increase in car ownership and the effects of population and economic growth within sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
According to Bond (2016), countries in Africa are far from consistent, and their infrastructure problems and solutions are not the same everywhere. The implications of Africas dual infrastructure weakness – low infrastructure endowments and inefficient supply of services related to this infrastructure stock – is that it will not be enough to simply increase financing flowing to infrastructure investments in Africa (p. 310-311). Over time, the government has not done a good job with accountability and providing the people with resources that will make the way of living better.
People in Africa, more specifically those in Liberia, are living the best way possible due to the circumstances.
A major factor that continues to affect infrastructure not progressing is the lack of economic revolution. The recovery time for most countries since the war has had slower progression than others and with no consistent stream within the economy, the countries grow is slow. Ajakaiye & Ncube (2010) point out that SSA has the highest cost of doing business in the world with the cost of infrastructure services making up a disproportionately large part of production and trade costs (cited by Ndulu et al., 2007, p. 67) (p. i5). SSA is the region with the largest infrastructure deficit, and the annual spending needs that have been estimated at around $90 billion pa, amounting to fifteen percent of African GDP or $120 per capita each year, which actual spending is running at less than two-thirds of this (cited in Foster and Briceno-Garmendia, 2010) (Collier & Venables, 2016, p. 392).
Although infrastructure is a major component to any countries growth there can be other factors that the people feel to be more important to ensure success and improve the quality of life. For example, for the Sudanese people it is recommended that the Sudan government focus its attention in the short term, to concentrate on improving basic skills and literacy which can also be blended with adult learning programs and on the job training (e.g., apprenticeships) to help up-skill the workforce (Nassif, Stewart, Mutepfe, & Christou, 2016, p. 5).
Car Ownership & Population
The comparison between developing countries versus developed countries has a big significant difference when it comes to car ownership. The population growth in both countries indicate changes all over and the impact can either have a positive or negative effect. Reported in the latest South African National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) the number of households in the country that own cars are approximately 28.3%, increasing significantly from 22.9% in 2003 (cited in Statistics South Africa, 2014). Reflecting in total vehicle sales, from an average of 30,000 per annum in 1996 to approximately 50,000 per annum in 2016 (cited in Trading Economics, 2016b) (Luke, 2017, p. 135).
With the rise of car ownership, comes other issues connected to the infrastructure, which can be avoided if government officials were more proactive to fix the problems. Unpaved roads are a common feature in many residential neighborhoods of SSA cities and severely compromising local air quality (Amegah, & Agyei-Mensah, 2017, p. 741). Rapid population growth in SSA cities has led to increased vehicle ownership, increased use of solid fuels for cooking and heating, and poor waste management practices. Vehicle ownership has increased in SSA due to the continual importance of reasonably priced over-aged vehicles from Europe and North America. These over-aged vehicles often have poor emissions ratings and no longer meet standards in their countries of origin (Amegah, & Agyei-Mensah, 2017, p. 738-740). Investments in infrastructure and services should be coupled with regulation targeting the transport sector (ban of certain vehicles types and emission standards), dis-incentivizing the mobility based on fossil fuel-powered automobiles in favor of public transport, non-motorized transport and small electric vehicles (Mutanga, Quitzow, & Steckel, 2018, p. 7).
Employment & Economic Growth
According to Frankema & Van Waijenburg (2018), Africa will be the only world region to witness significant demographic growth beyond 2050. It will transform a historically low-populated region into one of the most densely populated continents of the world (p. 560).
Employment opportunities are far and few in many SSA countries and the lack of jobs available complicates the way of life for many individuals. Jones, Page, Shimeles, & Tarp (2015) indicate that the traditional association between poverty and poor countries is no longer very helpful – many of the worlds poor live in middle-income countries. Moreover, the overriding challenge in many low-income countries is not unemployment; rather it is a lack of good jobs that generate adequate income (p. 2). This is challenging for anyone with a family who want to ensure that their basic needs are being met so they can improve their quality of life.
According to Anyanwu (2016), the youth (aged 15-24) employment crisis is currently one of the greatest development challenges facing countries globally, including those in Africa. Gender equality in youth employment is one of the top policy challenges facing countries globally. For Africa as a whole, male youth employment-population ratio was estimated at about 47.7% compared to female youth employment-to-population ratio of only 39.4% (p. 397). Gender disparities for employment begin at an early age. While collecting information from the staff in Liberia about employment opportunities it was mentioned that City Parking created gender-neutral opportunities for teens, males, and females, to keep them out of trouble as well as decreasing the teenage pregnancy rates.
Anyanwu (2016) shares that gender equality in youth employment in Africa is important because female youths employment is essential in the fight against poverty because the personal power it provides female youth in shaping, making decisions and in redirecting spending on essential needs, especially in favor of education and healthcare. Gender equality also gives the female youth what is recognized internationally, deserving the same opportunities (p. 398). Women empowerment is important because it builds confidence and allows women to conquer their fears. In Liberia, many students observed women in specific positions and having specific roles and while there were more males than females. Inspiring girls at a young age gives them hope and understanding that they are just as deserving as the next person.
Africa is rich in every aspect of its culture. Each of these factors contributes to the growth of the country but it can only grow as much as its government will allow and implement. The people put their trust in their government to make decisions that will allow them to live a life with no worries. There is a negative connotation associated with the government, but it is up to those officials to make the change and give the people what they need.