The World Bank's role in Sub-Saharan Africa's urban transport sub-sector has evolved in the last few years. Recent projects concerned specifically with urban transport (e.g., in Ghana, Kenya, and Senegal), are based on a comprehensive approach to urban mobility issues.
Using labor-based methods for road works has been an important part of the strategy to improve rural transport infrastructure in Africa over the past twenty-five years. These methods not only produce gravel roads of equal quality to those produced using equipment-based methods, but they also generate rural employment in a accost-effective manner. Although labor-based methods have proved to be a cost-effective alternative to equipment-based methods in many low-wage Sub-Saharan African countries, these methods have not been applied on large scale.
The literature gives two explanations for contractors' reluctance to adopt labor-based methods. First, contractors believe the cost of learning this new technology is high. Programs designed to promote labor-based methods have always included subsidized training to address this problem. This study argues that focusing on training often diverts attention away from more substantive problems inherent in adopting labor-based methods.
The Sub-Sahara Africa Transport Program (SSATP) was launched in 1987 as a joint initiative of the World Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to improve transport sector performance by promoting policy reforms and institutional changes. The SSATP is a broad collaborative effort of national development aid agencies, international agencies (UNDP, ILO, and UNCTAD), and African institutions (i. a. UAR, MINCONMAR, PTA), with the World Bank and ECA acting as the Executing Agencies.