Impact of Transportation Infrastructure on Development in East Africa and the Indian Ocean Region

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The study explores the relationship between transportation and development in the East Africa and Indian Ocean (EAIO) region. A positive link between development, defined in terms of gross national income per capita (GNI/cap), and transportation, operationalized in terms of the different major forms of transport infrastructure in the study region, is hypothesized. Multiple regression involving natural logarithms and concomitant statistics is employed to test the hypothesis. The resultant model is positive and statistically significant at the 95% level. Thus, the hypothesized relationship is confirmed. Two seemingly counterintuitive results, namely the not-statistically-significant negative association between railways and development, and the statistically significant link between dirt roads and development, are noted. Two plausible explanations are proffered for this unexpected finding. One is that dirt roads constitute a hindrance, rather than a facilitator, to development during the rainy season when they are impassable. The other is that railways in the area suffer from neglect and are not harmonized enough to maximize their utility. On account of the revelation that transportation, as a whole, is positively linked to development, and the fact that the functioning of other sectors depends largely on transportation, it is recommended that transport infrastructure and facilities be prioritized as an investment target in the EAIO region.

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Journal of Urban Planning and Development, v. 138, issue 1, p. 1-9