During the first period the Bank's main concern was to find ways of relieving urban traffic congestion. This mainly involved the prescription of traffic management, road rehabilitation and road construction. It also involved helping the formal public transport sector become more efficient and building local capabilities to plan, implementation and monitor traffic management schemes. This focus is reflected in the projects undertaken in the Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Senegal, Cameroon and Zimbabwe.
This overview discusses the financial aspects of the four studies of urban transport microenterprises referred to in the Foreword. These studies covered far more than financial issues, since the objective was to understand how such enterprises operate, and to grasp all the factors which enter into play in this transport sub-sector, taking, if not a macroeconomic, then at least a meso-economic perspective.
Concerned by the poor state of the road network in most of its member countries, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has been promoting reforms to help regional integration for effective transport services. COMESA has taken an interest in the Road Maintenance Initiative (RMI), which has been working with nine pilot countries, five of which are within the COMESA area, on ways to make road maintenance sustainable. Twelve COMESA countries were reviewed.
There are over one and a half million km of roads in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), including 554,000 km of main roads. Almost without exception, these roads are managed by bureaucratic government roads departments. The roads carry 80 to 90 percent of the region's passenger and freight traffic, absorb 5 to 10 percent of central government recurrent budgets and 10 to 20 percent of their development budgets.
Until the late 1970s, the Finnish Road and Waterways Administration (RWA) operated as a highly centralized agency. Then RWA started its gradual reforms. In the mid 1980s, RWA began evolving into a market-oriented road administration. As part of the reform process, there have been profound changes in competition law, principles of public procurement, and in the legislation enabling the creation of state-owned enterprises and the commercialization of government agencies.
The note is based on a review of the road sector within the member countries of the Customs and Economic Union of Central African States (UDEAC), and describes the road network, indicating conditions on the main paved network remained fairly stable during the last decade, mostly due to massive rehabilitation efforts - donor funded - not the result of regular maintenance efforts. As for unpaved roads, data indicates deterioration, likely caused by inadequate maintenance, and heavier traffic.
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.
The review presents an overview of the road sector in the seven UDEAC countries and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It examines the adequacy of the infrastructure services as well as the efforts to improve financing and management and, thus, the sustainability of service and efficiency. The Central African Republic and Chad are the two truly landlocked countries in the region. However, the Democratic Republic of Congo also faces many of the same problems because of its vast land area and the narrow outlet to the Atlantic Ocean in the west.
Tanzania has been one of the countries at the forefront of reforms inspired by the Road Management Initiative. This paper focuses on some of the main challenges that the country now faces in consolidating an institutional structure: setting up both the road fund and a new main road agency to carry the reform process forward and secure sustainable improvements in road sector performance. The paper is based on extensive fieldwork and stakeholder interviews carried out in 2001 as well as on a review of the major lessons emerging from past reform experience in Tanzania.