Among the capitals of West Africa, Bamako has been singled out because of a system of urban transport, in which the structured enterprises could never attain sustainability. This transport system, in fact controlled by the drivers union, remains undeniably inflexible, and inadaptable. However, the structure of its road network, the employment being concentrated downtown, i.e., conducive to traffic congestion particularly during rush hours, and to higher levels of pollution, are elements favoring improvements to the system.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As part of a series intended to share information about issues raised in various Sub-Saharan Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP) reports, this note is the first part, addressing the road sector reform process in Ghana, still challenged by political, economic, and social forces.
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.
This note is based on the "Appraisal of the Road Management Initiative (RMI) Concepts Implementation in Sub-Saharan African (SSA) Countries", a study carried out using forms, and procedures prepared by the RMI, and to some extent, builds on regional reviews of the road sector in SSA countries.
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.