Colonization and Sanitation in Urban Africa: A Logistics Analysis of the Availability of Central Sewerage Systems as a Function of Colonialism

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African cities, Colonialism, Public infrastructure, Sanitation, Sewerage systems

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The stock of public infrastructure inherited from the colonial era constitutes a strong predictor of the development profiles of African countries. The question that remains to be adequately addressed relates to factors that determine the presence or absence of such infrastructure in the first place. The study reported here employed a logistic analysis in an attempt to answer this question. Colonialism, operationalized in terms of duration of colonial experience, government share of real GDP per capita, and colonizer identity, is posited as a valid predictor of the availability of sanitation infrastructure. The hypothesis is supported by empirical evidence. It is shown that, the availability of central sewerage systems in cities within any African country depends on how long the country was colonized. Colonizer identity, operationalized in terms of the nationality of a colonial power, however, proved to have no predictive ability.

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Habitat International, v. 38, p. 207-213