Spending by African governments on Infrastructure

National expenditure allocations were gathered for 48 African national governments. Out of the 54 African countries, data could not be gathered for six: Djibouti, Eritrea, Guinea Bissau, Libya, Mauritania, and Sudan.

In 2018, commitments made by 48 African national governments in support of their own infrastructure
programs and projects amounted to $37.5bn, 9% higher than the $34.3bn for 47 countries presented in
2017, and 22% higher than the revised $30.7bn for 49 countries presented in 2016.

Two regions committed substantially more in 2018 than they had in 2017: West Africa allocated $7.9bn,
over twice the $3.6bn it had allocated in 2017. North Africa allocated $7.9bn, 22% more than the $6.5bn it committed in 2017. East Africa committed 28% less in 2018 than it had in 2017. Allocations by the other three regions changed minimally: Southern Africa’s went from $6.2bn in 2017 to $6.4bn in 2018. RSA’s went from $6.7bn in 2017 to $6.8bn in 2018, and Central Africa’s went from $2.9bn in 2017 to $2.5bn in 2018.


In 2018, as in previous years, the largest share (52%) of national infrastructure budgets supported operations in the transport sector. This compares with shares of 59% in 2017 and 53% in 2016. Commitments in transport have been increasing regularly in the last few years, going from $12.9bn in 2015 to $20.1bn in 2017. A slight decrease was observed in 2018, with commitments of $19.6bn.

The small ($521m) aggregate reduction in allocations to the transport sector hides substantial changes at the regional level: East Africa allocated $2.4bn less in 2018 than it had in 2017; South Africa committed $1.1bn more; and West Africa committed $1bn more. Central Africa and Southern Africa reduced their commitments by smaller amounts, $165m and $161m respectively. At the country level, the largest national allocations to transport were in South Africa ($4.8bn), Egypt ($2.6bn), and Tanzania ($2.5bn).

Water and Sanitation

At $5.6bn, national budget allocations to the water and sanitation sector are only slightly less than the $5.9bn allocated in 2017, and slightly above the 2014-2017 average of $5.2bn. They accounted for 15% of the total national budget allocations. At the regional level, the largest change was a $718m increase from Southern Africa. The allocation for South Africa was lower by $1bn. Smaller changes were experienced in West Africa, with an increase of $364m, and East Africa, with a decrease of $334m.
At the country level, South Africa allocated the largest amount to water and sanitation, $1.3bn, followed by Angola with $1bn.


Allocations to the energy sector in national budgets amounted to $$7.7bn in 2018, $2.1bn (38%) more than in 2017. The share of allocations to energy went from 16% in 2017 to 20% in 2018. Most of the increase (91%) is the result of a $1.9bn increase in the allocation West African countries made to their energy sector.
North Africa more than doubled its allocation, going from $777m in 2017 to $1.6bn in 2018. These large increases were somewhat offset by an allocation reduction in South Africa ($513m).

Much of the large increase in West Africa allocation is explained by a sharp jump in Nigeria ($1.4bn in
2018 compared with $185m in 2017), which brought its national allocation to $1.6bn. After Nigeria, Angola had the second largest national allocation to energy, $1.4bn, although this amount was less than the 2017 allocation of $1.7bn.


National allocations to the ICT sector increased by 85%, reaching $1.1bn in 2018, $514m more than in 2017. The most noticeable changes were a $193m increase in allocation in West Africa and a $109m increase in Central Africa. At the country level, the largest allocations were in Kenya ($160m), and Egypt ($116m).


National infrastructure budgets allocated to multisector operations increased by 62% or $1.3bn. Significant changes affected all the regions: large increases in West Africa ($732m), North Africa ($497m), East Africa ($390m) and Southern Africa ($117m), and a large decrease in Central Africa ($393m). South Africa did not report any multi-sector operations in 2018 (or in 2017).

National Government Budget Allocations by Sector ($bn), 2014-2018

Subscribe to our Newsletter

This week's must-sees

Interviews, article, discussions, news of the week

Each Friday, at 8PM (Paris GMT), the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) selects for you the moments you should not miss

To subscribe: p.wolmer@afdb.org

Subscribe now

You are currently offline. Some pages or content may fail to load.