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.
This paper reviews experience with the operation of selected African road funds. Although most African road funds suffer from systematic problems, this review identifies examples of best practice and provides guidance on how to design a road fund that works. The paper has mainly been written for a technical audience and is directed toward officials in developing countries, Bank Task Managers, and officials in other development agencies working to improve the operation of road funds. It is also written for consultants involved in setting up new road funds, or restructuring existing ones.
In response to the deteriorating condition of the road network and the high associated economic costs, various stakeholder consultations were held during the 1980s under the umbrella of the Road Management Initiative (RMI), which set the broad outline of a new policy framework for the road sector.