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Against the backdrop of an increasing demand for efficient, effective and sustainable new infrastructure developments in Africa, this study examines two rapid railway transportation projects to explore alternative ways of organising. The analysis focuses on the Gautrain railway system in South Africa and the Addis Ababa City Light Rail Transit (AA-LRT) system in Ethiopia. Adopting a comparative approach, we investigate how the two capital-intensive project organisations succeeded in overcoming system bottlenecks, and in dealing with complex interfaces with the institutional environment. Our focus is on the structures designed by the project promoter to acquire the necessary formal resources – finance, human capital, certification and land – and to manage the interdependency with the environment. We also investigate the extent to which the developments succeeded in creating broad value beyond the private value appropriated by the private firms involved in design, construction and operations. In agreement with organisation design literature, our analysis suggests the design of the governance structures is directly influenced by the political and sociocultural environment. Therefore, we argue, designing project organisations to deliver infrastructure in Africa is not a problem with a one-size-fits-all solution.
This book starts from the idea that much can be learned about the design of new forms of organising, theoretically and empirically, by examining a phenomenon central to the global order: Africa’s struggle to bridge a growing gap between supply and demand for basic infrastructure. A gap linked, amongst other factors, to the rapid growth of the continent’s population, projected to reach 40 per cent of the world’s population by 2100.1 Infrastructure is a vast class of capital-intensive technologies that input into a wide range of productive processes that generate positive externalities and social surplus.
Africa's rapid population growth and urbanisation has made its socioeconomic development a global priority. But as China ramps up its assistance in bridging Africa's basic infrastructure gap to the detriment of institutions building, warnings of a debt trap have followed. Building upon an extensive body of evidence, the editors argue that developing institutions and infrastructure are two equally desirable but organisationally incompatible objectives. In conceptualising this duality by design, a new theoretical framework proposes better understanding of the differing approaches to development espoused by traditional agencies, such as the World Bank, and emergent Chinese agencies. This new framing moves the debate away from the fruitless search for a 'superior' form of organising, and instead suggests looking for complementarities in competing forms of organising for development. For students and researchers in international business, strategic and public management, and complex systems, as well as practitioners in international development and business in emergent markets.
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