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Infrastructure, Inflation And The Cost Of Living

by Dickson Igwe
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Dickson Igwe, resident socio-economic and political columnist

Poor social and physical infrastructure is costly to residents, and causes inflation to inflict greater woe on a society.

Inadequate water supply, unhygienic garbage dumps and garbage strewn neighborhoods, dirty streets with a lack of good drainage,  poor sewage disposal, poor sanitation, dangerous and uneven pavements, poor and deadly road networks, lack of policing, limited sports facilities, untended public parks, schools poorly maintained, and the list goes on.    The preceding defines underdevelopment in its starkest form.

Countries poorly governed fail to meet the most basic benchmark of good governance: providing residents with a safe and wholesome existence.

In late 2022, after over 30 years of self-rule, there is no reason for Road Town to become a stench-ridden swamp, after an hour of rainfall, with residents tip toeing over pools of water and crates strewn on the ground to walk on.   There is no excuse for anarchy on the roads, with music booming from cars with oversized speakers, scooter riders ripping through motorists dangerously without helmets and silencers, deafening trucks, and cars using the public roads as a racetrack.

The measure of what is developed is as simple as visiting a country that has invested in its physical and social infrastructure. The contrast is as clear as day and night between a country that takes its infrastructure development seriously and one that takes this most basic requirement of good governance for granted.

Countries with great infrastructure allow a traveler to amble pleasantly about its towns without the unpleasant smells, dodgy walkways, and dangerous traffic.

Tourists can visit local museums and galleries, and enjoy the culture and history. Travelers can explore the country on cheap and efficient public transportation. Visitors experience first class customer service in great hotels and stores. The reality is that good public infrastructure does not simply improve the standard and quality of life it, it lowers the cost of living, and drives a higher standard of living.

Countries with good public infrastructure are less expensive and more cost effective for their both their residents and visitors.

Moreover, great infrastructure offers benefits not easily costed; increased safety of residents; a clean and wholesome environment; better access to efficient public services; ease of doing business; a greater experience for tourists and travelers, and the list goes on.

Ultimately, a country that invests innovatively in its social and economic infrastructure brings down the costs of doing business, and further reduces the cost of living for residents: an important factor in today’s inflationary environment.

The next time you amble about Road Town and get hit by the smell of deteriorating garbage, your shoes get dirty because the roads are unwashed, you trip over a gap on the pavement, and are accosted by booming loud speakers, understand you are experiencing existence as a dweller of an undeveloped land.

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Dickson Igwe

Dickson Igwe

Dickson Igwe is an education official in the Virgin Islands. He is also a national sea safety instructor. He writes a national column across media and has authored a story book on the Caribbean: ‘The Adventures of a West Indian Villager’. Dickson is focused on economics articles, and he believes economics holds the answer to the full economic and social development of the Caribbean. He is of both West African and Caribbean heritage. Dickson is married with one son.


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