n Development Finance Agenda (DEFA) - Next generation modeling for integrated, sustainable infrastructure in Africa : the case for Nexus modeling

Volume 1, Issue 3
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Closing Africa's infrastructure gap is a top priority in order to put the continent on a path for double-digit growth and sustainable development. Over the past decade, infrastructure spend has contributed to over half of Africa's growth performance. Whilst the infrastructure challenges and investment varies greatly across countries in Africa, key stakeholders from both the public and private sectors are increasingly calling for more innovative ways to finance the infrastructure gap, as well as increased investment in regional and urban infrastructure that is sustainable and that takes into consideration the nexus between sustainable water, energy and food systems. A key challenge facing stakeholders is how to appropriately map the relationships and model the dynamics that occur within integrated large-scale infrastructure projects to increase output capacity - whilst conserving scarce natural assets.

Key objectives of this paper are : (a) to shed light on recent developments in nexus thinking and nexus modeling for sustainable infrastructure development; (b) to explore the challenges and opportunities posed by existing models that utilize engineering methods and tools; and (c) to advocate for the investment and support of critical research into how exponentially growing technologies based in meta-heuristics and artificial intelligence can enable project designers and planners across Africa to "leap-frog" in their effort to conceptualise, plan, model and implement sustainable, integrated infrastructure projects.

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