This note analyzes the organization, profitability, and financing of private mass transit services in Abidjan, with an emphasis on private companies, operating minibuses commonly known as "gbakas". The Abidjan case study is part of a regional study launched early in 1999, under the urban mobility component of the Sub-Saharan Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP), covering four cities: Abidjan, Bamako, Harare, and Nairobi, while the regional study was carried out by the Solidarite Internationale sur les Transports et la Recherche en Afrique Subsaharienne. (SITRASS).
While the document "Trade and Transport Facilitation - Audit Methodology" applies a practical approach to the general context of project evaluation, it appeared useful to expand, in particular, the section on Analysis of Corrective Measures, and compile the results within these guidelines.
The case study of the concessioning of the Ifrikya railway is based in part on several recent actual case studies on railway concessioning in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, several features of the general context and data have been changed for pedagogical purposes. The Republic of Ifrikya should therefore be considered an entirely fictitious country and the description of conditions there should not in any way be construed as mirroring the situation in any country that has recently entered into a railway concessioning arrangement.
Financing road maintenance through road funds is not a new concept, but it is one that is rekindling interest. A new generation of road funds is emerging in Africa, quite distinct from "classic" road funds, drawing inspiration from the tenets of services, efficiency, and responsibility. The objective posts the point of view that road funds should be run like businesses and not administered like social services. The basic idea is to commercialize roads.
Under a concession system the state grants a franchise the right to finance, build, own, operate, and maintain a public infrastructure for a given period, and to charge users for that service. Concessions are normally stand-alone, single-purpose entities that are expected to finance themselves eventually, if not initially, without recourse to their shareholders. They are independent corporate entities run by a dedicated staff that seeks career advancement within the concession company. Invariably, the successful concession has been created because of a compelling economic need.