What are the economic impacts of upgraded highways?

By Mumba Ngulube

Congratulations to PhD student Mumba Ngulube who passed her viva with minor revisions, here she blogs about her research.

My research analyses the economic impacts of upgraded highways in Zambia. I studied the upgrade of an international highway that passes through three countries (Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique) and terminates at port Nacala on the performance of firms in Zambia.

Zambia is among the top 5 countries facing the highest transportation costs in Southern Africa because of poor roads and long distances between towns. The country is landlocked and requires good roads to access seaports in neighbouring countries for trade.

Results of my research show that transport policy to upgrade highways promotes the growth of tradable sector firms in peripheral areas. Further, using nighttime light remote sensing data, findings are that the upgraded highway promotes economic growth of around 21 per cent at the local level in immediate areas surrounding the upgraded highway.