Big infrastructure projects should be based on the needs of people and communities. Often, they are criticised for benefiting the wealthy only. These projects reflect specific agendas of political and economic elites who are able to advance their interests through the developments. They interplay with existing inequalities and almost inevitably have highly uneven effects.
An example is Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway, a massive infrastructure project that connects the port city of Mombasa to the capital, Nairobi.
So how can these projects be made beneficial to more people? Civil society groups are crucial to ensuring equity. They have the power to reach marginalised groups and can educate them about projects and about their rights. It is also important to make sure projects don’t become a political tool.
In today’s episode of Pasha, Gediminas Lesutis, a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Amsterdam, talks about making massive infrastructure projects work for communities.
Photo: “Children walk by the rails at an elevated section of the new Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya” By Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images