A new study has revealed that even though countries are likely to improve their infrastructure networks substantially in the future, the current path points to millions of people without access to basic infrastructure even by 2060.
That’s among the key findings from “Building Global Infrastructure: Forecasting the Next 50 Years” -- the fourth volume in Patterns of Potential Human Progress (PPHP) -- published by the Frederick S Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies.
“Millions of people around the world currently lack access to even basic infrastructure,” Dale S Rothman, lead author of the report and senior scientist at the Frederick S Pardee Center for International Futures, said.
The data show that, in 2010, 62% of the rural population of low-income countries did not live within two kilometers of an all-season road, 76% of all people in low-income countries lacked household access to electricity, 34% to improved water, 63% to improved sanitation and 78% to modern forms of communication, such as mobile phones.
“We forecast that, if we follow the current path, by 2060, most developing regions will achieve access rates to improved water and electricity that approach or even exceed those of high-income countries today, while access to mobile phones and mobile broadband will approach near universality much sooner,” Rothman said.
Millions of people, however, will not feel the reach of these improvements.
“We forecast that more than half-a-billion people will still not live within two kilometers of an all-season road by 2060 and a similar number will not have access to electricity. Approximately 250 million people will not have access to an improved source of drinking water, and more than 1 billion will not have access to improved sanitation,” he said.
“The vast majority of these people will be in low-income and lower-middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere,” he added.
Rothman said the current pace of infrastructure advance is not fast enough for most developing countries to achieve universal access to basic infrastructure by 2060, much less by the year 2030, the target date specified in a number of international discussions this week at the United Nations and elsewhere.