In a new film for Evidence on Demand, EAP Programme Manager John Hawkins provides an overview of a new Topic Guide entitled, ‘Maximising the benefits to the poor from economic infrastructure’. The Topic Guide focuses on projects that principally aim to boost economic growth and industrial development. In these projects, directly reducing poverty is likely to be a secondary outcome. In addition, it examines the potential for the infrastructure associated with the extractives sector to serve broader development goals.
In the film, as lead author, John explains how the poor can benefit from economic infrastructure.
“Economic infrastructure can bring direct benefits to the poor usually from using an infrastructure service such as public transport to access health and education facilities.
The poor can also benefit indirectly such as from the jobs that are created as result of the spill over effects of economic growth that has been stimulated by new, cheap and reliable infrastructure services.
However, evaluating the direct and especially the indirect benefits is a challenge”.
To overcome this challenge the Topic Guide provides a theory of change which establishes the links between the investment in an infrastructure project, the economic growth generated by the infrastructure and the potential direct and indirect benefits to the poor. Prioritising accessibility and affordability in project designs is then key to the poor benefiting from economic infrastructure.
The Topic Guide concludes by outlining a number of additional measures that if included in project design can lead to additional direct benefits to the poor including time savings, self-employment opportunities, improved health and education and better lives for women and children. There is also a greater likelihood of a pro-poor outcome.
Evidence on Demand is an international development information hub supported by the Department for International Development. EAP is a core partner for Evidence on Demand consortium led by IMC Worldwide and DAI.