Published on: 16/09/2013
Navigating the danger zone where countries raise enough money to build but not maintain new infrastructure raises a question: Does this zone exist?
In one of his previous blogs, Patrick Moriarty posed the concept of a danger zone, referring to the coverage level, at which countries that succeeded in raising first time coverage by constructing new infrastructure (capital investment) fail to maintain the infrastructure (due to lack of capital maintenance) or to operate it adequately to provide a service (due to lack of effort on recurrent expenditure and support). As a result, a country would experience stagnation in the trajectory of coverage growth. Using this concept, in a previous blog, I have tried to go deeper into the causes of why this danger zone may happen, and illustrate this for the case of Honduras. But does this danger zone really exists? And more importantly, is it inevitable?
Figures show that around a third of the countries that reach a reasonably high coverage of 80% in rural water supply experienced stagnation. But what happens in the other two thirds of countries?
To answer that question, I started off by playing with JMP numbers, and a first indication showed that indeed around a third of the countries that reach a reasonably high coverage of 80% in rural water supply, experienced such stagnation. The blog post that resulted from this (on Impatient Optimists), actually raised more questions. What happens in the other two thirds of countries – do they avoid the danger zone? Is the danger zone indeed caused by the increase in service levels for some, at the expenses for providing some for all? And is a danger zone also experienced in sanitation? In the paper 'Through the Danger Zone' (available below), we have tried to answer these questions and provide some further evidence for the existence of a danger zone, based on JMP data. These are some of our headline findings:
As you will see, many of the underlying data are not very clear-cut and it is not always clear why certain countries follow the trajectory that they do. We therefore welcome any feed-back on the paper, and help in interpreting the results.
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