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It is widely believed that a country’s endowment with infrastructure represents a critical factor to sustain economic growth, promote trade, and attract foreign direct investment (FDI). Trading opportunities improve since better infrastructure reduces the costs of transport, communication and other business-related services. At the same time, the country becomes more attractive to FDI as better infrastructure increases the productivity of private investment.

Nearly half of the population in Africa relies on agriculture to earn a livelihood.[1] Agriculture is the backbone of many economies accounting for more than a quarter of regional GDP in some regions.[2] Given its importance, donors have invested heavily in efforts that increase agricultural productivity.

Recent estimates suggest that at least 80% of developing countries worldwide are pursuing a policy of decentralisation[1]. This push for local democracy has been taken up by the international development community, with a wave of recent publications extoling the virtues of local governments in improving local democracy, accountability, and central government performance[2].

For many developing countries, volatile swings in output are not uncommon, and they can be very damaging to their economic development. Knowing what's behind this points the way to what can be done to mitigate the negative effects. Many have argued for the importance of democracy as a stabilising influence, yet it seems that access to information and transparency may be more important.