Today most farmers in rural Africa and remote parts of Asia and Latin America are essentially cut off from markets beyond their village. Poor transport services are a major reason for this, particularly in rural Africa, where transport costs are several times higher than elsewhere in the world. Since rural road networks in many poor countries are too small and falling into disrepair, major public investments in the construction of footpaths, feeder, district, and national roads are required--using techniques that are labor intensive to create employment and minimize the adverse impact on the environment. Improved transport infrastructure and services will also have an important positive impact on reducing the time burdens of women and girls who today spend much of their day walking to obtain water and other essentials for survival. They will also allow women better access to life-saving health services, such as emergency obstetric care.

In the MV Sim, building a paved road reduces the transport cost of going from the village to a nearby town (such as the cost of transporting cotton, or going to the doctor) or coming into the village (such as all of the investments which families and the village can make). In addition, a road will raise yields on small business, since business costs decrease (buying goods that the business needs becomes cheaper) and sales to the town increase. Since the village is now more connected to the rest of the country and the world, it is more likely that the government or an NGO will come in to offer assistance through investment subsidies.

For more information:

Starkey, Paul, and others. "Improving Rural Mobility--Options for Developing Motorized and Nonmotorized Transport in Rural Areas." World Bank Technical Paper 525. Washington: World Bank, 2002.