Devonomics

Devonomics

It is difficult to answer questions about how Nigeria can and should achieve sustainable economic, social and political growth. This column takes a look at well known development economic theories and applies them to the unique Nigerian context.

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Rethinking Roads in Nigeria

Martha Sambe

Martha Sambe

Martha is a graduate of Development Economics and International Cooperation from the University of Rome, Tor Vergata. She enjoys writing and researching topics in development, sociology, and religion.

Nigeria’s road network, the system of roads which connects the entire country, stretches to 193,200km. Of this, barely 28,980km (15%) is paved. Compared to 80% in Malaysia and 13% in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Malaysia are ranked as the 27th, 32nd and 66th largest countries in the world by landmass. Though the data is inconclusive, one would imagine that larger countries would have more roads – and more paved roads. What data does show is that 12 out 18 countries with 100% paved roads have landmasses less than the size of Malaysia (329,750 km2 ).

There are many consequences of a poor road network, the most grievous being the danger it poses to human lives. In July 2017 alone, 13 people died from car accidents each day, with over 1,200 vehicles involved in accidents during the month. While numerous causal factors are at play, frequent road travellers would finger the deplorable state of Nigerian roads as chief among them. 

And beyond the health hazards, the poor quality of Nigerian roads acts as a stumbling block to development in the country. 

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