1.1 Background to the Study
The quest for rural development globally, calls for critical assessment of the relation between socio-economic infrastructure and rural development. Socio-economic infrastructures such as road, power, education, healthcare service, communication, water, and market are very essential for rural development and job creation which in turn, improve the standards of living of the rural people and reduces the incidence of rural poverty. According to Egunjobi (1987), the importance of infrastructure to rural socio-economic life can be seen from three perspectives. First, they stimulate economic activities. Second, they promote societal welfare and thirdly, they prevent rural depopulation.
The United Nations (2013) report indicates that, over much of the globe, rural poverty is on the increase. About 1.2 billion people of the world live on less than a dollar, and this is attributed to insufficient, or lack of socio-economic infrastructure that would stimulate and facilitate socio-economic activities which in turn, empowers the rural people and subsequently, improve their well-being.
The Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have been identified as the building blocks for improving the well-being of the rural people, and infrastructure is perceived as the key catalyst to transforming Africa. Numerous studies, analysis and forums, conducted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and others, have brought out the fact that one of the biggest constraints to Africa‘s growth and competitiveness has been inadequate and underperforming infrastructural facilities such as schools, market, electricity, road, and healthcare.
The key to unlocking Africa‘s growth potential was investment in its infrastructure, particularly in education which is central to the development of individual, community as well as the overall development of a nation. Despite these potentialities of education in rural as well as national development little priority is given to the education sector. For instance, previous federal budgets have depicted this negligence where from 2007 to 2014 the budget for education has been insignificant compared to other sectors as in 2007 what was allocated to education was 12%, in 2008, 10%, in 2009, 11%, in 2010, 9%, in 2011 9.5%, in 2012, 8.43%, in 2013, 10.7%, in 2014, 8.4% respectively (Federal Ministry of Education, 2014). This has indicated that education has not been accorded the desired priority in the national budgets as this is far below the United Nations‘ benchmark of 26% minimum for education.
The Millennium Development Goal (MDG), with input from African countries, recently completed formulating the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). This continental initiative, based on regional infrastructure projects and programmes, which will help to address the infrastructure deficits that severely hampers Africa‘s competitiveness within itself and in the world market. Continuing growth and prosperity would swell the demand for infrastructure, already one of the continent‘s greatest impediments to sustainable development. Successive Nigerian Governments at various periods had launched different programmes aimed at development the rural areas some of which include, Agricultural Development Project (ADP), River Basin Development Authority (RBDA), and Directorate for Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI).
EFFECT OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC INFRASTRUCTURE ON RURAL DEVELOPMENT IN KATSINA STATE, NIGERIA