The 2007 annual report which marks the end of the Long Term Development Plan (LTDP) that started in 2004. Over the past four years, Sub-Saharan Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP) has become the lead program in facilitating transport policy dialogue and development among non-transport and transport sector stakeholders.
This report, prepared under the Rural Travel and Transport Project of the sub - Saharan Africa Transport Program (SSATP), presents findings from a review of 127 projects with rural road components in SSA. The review highlights key policy changes discussed under the main headings of planning, design and technology, resource mobilization, and sectoral organization and institutional performance. Planning is seen as a process involving key constituencies at various levels rather than a methodology.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The SSATP in its earlier years was driven by the desire of the donor community to see policy reform introduced in the interest of efficient use of donor funds. Now, as both the Bank and other donors increasingly work in a partnership mode with countries in project formulation (witnessed i.e. in the move towards SIPs), there is an emerging demand for the services of the program within the African countries.
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.