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

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