Addressing the infrastructure gap in Africa, in particular in transport, has contributed to put in place the foundation for accelerating economic growth. These efforts are indeed bearing fruits, especially in terms of improved accessibility and connectivity – new areas are getting opened up and communities are getting better connected to services. This notwithstanding, the price of transport services in Africa is still one of the highest, the quality of services is overall poor and modern transport logistics is in general lacking.
This paper presents a framework for improving management and financing of local government roads and community roads and paths based on two distinct owner categories and a redefined partnership between the public and private sectors. Local governments or their agents will manage the core rural roads; communities and associations of farmers will choose which roads and paths they own; the private sector will sell management services to the local road agencies and carry out physical works.
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.
Road transport is the dominant mode of transport in sub-Saharan Africa, carrying close to 90 percent of the region's passenger and freight transport, and providing the only access to rural communities where over 70 percent of Africans live. Despite their importance, most of the region's nearly 2 million km of roads are poorly managed and badly maintained. By 1990, nearly a third of the $150 billion invested in roads had been eroded through lack of maintenance.