In some countries basic infrastructure is lacking. Elsewhere, the infrastructure is inadequate because of age, state of disrepair, or incompetent management.
[Developing countries] Developing countries frequently lack adequate physical and social infrastructure of all kinds and their substantial improvement is essential for rapid economic development. In these countries, except in a few cities and towns, most areas are not served by modern transport and communications, and electric power is non-existent. Water supplies for domestic, agricultural and industrial use is limited. Sanitation facilities are non-existent for most people. Health and medical services are lacking. The educational infrastructure in developing countries is weakest in the sciences and technologies, resulting in a lack of technological expertise to bring to bear on agricultural and other key areas of production.
[Small island developing states] Island developing countries must provide their people with as great a range of services, particularly government services, as any other country. Yet given their remoteness, compounded in most cases by their archipelagic character, these services must be provided to small dispersed communities. Island developing countries are therefore inevitably faced with high overheads, including costs of such major basic infrastructure as hospitals, ports or airports. This is increasingly so as world trends in technological development favour increasing scale (as in international transport) and call for increasing specialization. Another infrastructural consequence of remoteness is that these countries must hold larger stocks of a wide range of goods, including essential ones such as foodstuffs and fuel, than must countries with easier access to supplies. A failure to do so could result in shortages, but stocks and shortages involve economic costs.
[Least developed countries] The operational capability of the existing infrastructure is poor for a number of reasons: the acute shortage of skilled manpower, poor skills of workers, scarcity of operating funds, at the operational and management level poor planning leads to weaknesses in resolving the problems of complementarity and competitiveness between the various modes of transport. The efficiency is also constrained by poor transport planning and operational arrangements at the regional and subregional levels between LDCs and neighbouring countries.