This project assesses the socioeconomic impact of improvements in road quality between 2014 and 2018 in Zambia, extending the study period of a previous IGC study titled The impact of infrastructure improvement on urban life quality and firm output, covering the implementation of Link Zambia 8000.
Link Zambia 8000 is one of Zambia's largest scale infrastructure development projects, with a plan to construct and upgrade about 8,200 km of roads carried out over a five-year period at a cost of about US$5.46bn, when launched in 2012. Though the project has been subject to substantial delays, including recent down-scaling of upgrade standards as part of austerity measures passed in response to a mounting public debt crisis, there has been substantial expansion of the road network over 2014-2018 which merits an evaluation of the benefits of such investment.
This study aims to provide an additional tool for the Ministry of National Development Planning in Zambia to enhance allocative efficiency of infrastructure investment and inform policy and planning for the next five-year plan.
First, we apply artificial intelligence to extend the timeline of road condition classification across the country's road network. Specifically, we will create three screenshots of the condition of the road network in Zambia in years 2009, 2014, and 2019 to track the development of paved roads overtime. We then compute the accessible economic mass in cities and towns by calculating travel time from any two locations of interest. In the last part of the study, we will combine the market access indices with data from the Demographic and Health Survey, night light data and other remote sensing data to conduct econometric analysis to study the impact of market access due to improved road network as part of Link Zambia 8000.