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Maintenance is a Missing Ingredient in Africas Development

Samwel Kipsang

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Infrastructure offers a stage for development, good economic policies and good governance provide the script for development, and implementation supported by the citizens, the political class, and the executive will assure its success. The little success made in infrastructural development in the third world is often offset by lack of maintenance.

Why maintenance has not been taken seriously can be a subject of research and debate, but many would agree that lack of maintenance adversely affect development.

In order for development to be realized, infrastructural maintenance should occupy a prominent place in the economic policy of any country. There are illustration of nature and human practice that support this position. Humanity agrees that a lot of work is in child rearing and not giving birth. And it is true that if one does not fill and repair cracks in a wall or a road, he would soon be in the business of building the whole wall or road again.

Many roads in many African countries are filled with pot-holes, and many houses complete with access roads and side walks are in ruin. Other infrastructures that have been neglected are railway lines, water supply lines, roads, and streets lights. It is true that natural resources may contribute to this, but this is made even worse by lack of an aggressive and vigorous maintenance policy.

Without good roads, vehicles move slowly and break down. Many hours and revenue are lost. It would take many hours to move raw materials and spare parts to where they are needed. Transport owners would use a lot of money to repair their fleet and to fuel. Services that rely directly or indirectly in road or rail transportation will slow down.

Since many third world countries still rely heavily on spare parts from first world countries it would end up spending most of its revenue to further advance economic progress of the first world countries, frustrating their own in the process.

Without an aggressive and rigorous maintenance program, third world countries would continue pumping most of its revenues to construct from scratch would have just been repaired. Many of these countries dreamed of industrialization and clean water for everybody by 1990's but they are now talking of 2030 or beyond. Without maintenance development cannot be achieved.

Lack of maintenance will also frustrate people's efforts and aspirations for a better life. Frustrations would take over and inspiration for ideas and creative actions will be dealt a big blow.

By Samwel Kipsang


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