This publication is based on the key note paper presented by the author at the experts Meeting on Intermediate Means of Transport (IMT) which took place in Nairobi, Kenya from 15 to 18, June 1999. Some 50 participants from twelve African countries including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe attended. Participants also included experts from the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom and the World Bank.
The argument presented in this report is that the relationships between improved rural road infrastructure and the provision of complementary vehicle services have not been fully understood resulting in over emphasis on infrastructure and under emphasis on the vehicle services themselves. The paper draws on evidence from cross country comparisons to conclude that there are particular problems in the rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
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.
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.
This is Part 3 of a series intended to share information about issues raised in various Sub-Saharan Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP) reports, and the note addresses the impact, and lessons learned from road sector reforms in two countries: Burkina Faso, and Ghana. While Burkina Faso's reforms are more structured, and planned, Ghana's more complex political, and economic history have had greater influence on road sector reforms than any attempt at advance planning.
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.
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.
The report is based on the Interim Work Plan for 2001 issued in February 2001 following discussions with donors at the Initial General Assembly Meeting held in Copenhagen. At that time a three-year program had been presented and discussed, and it was agreed that this interim program should be prepared. This executive summary includes a presentation, in tabular form, of all the planned activities under the Interim Work Plan, and what was actually achieved.