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.
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.
The Sub-Saharan Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP) was launched fifteen years ago as a joint initiative of the World Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to improve transport sector performance by promoting policy reforms and institutional changes. The basic premises of the Program are that policy reform is essential in order to improve transport services; and that countries and their development partners need to col-laborate in the sector within a common framework of policies.
The basic premises of the Program are that: (i) policy reform is essential to obtain improved provision of transport services; and (ii) countries and their development partners need to collaborate within the framework of a common vision of policies and strategies in the sector. The SSATP is concentrating on assisting African countries in their efforts to build capacity for designing and implementing these premises. Capacity building is now firmly the focus of the Program.
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.
This note is based on the Road Management Initiative (RMI) Country Coordinator for Kenya, Mr. F.N. Nyangaga's progress report, presented to the World Road Congresses in Kuala Lumpur, 1999. The RMI has, over the past ten years, worked with interested African countries to identify the underlying causes of poor road management policies, and to develop an agenda of reforms that will facilitate sustainable management of the public road networks.
The Sub-Sahara Africa Transport Program (SSATP) was launched in 1987 as a joint initiative of the World Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to improve transport sector performance by promoting policy reforms and institutional changes. The SSATP is a broad collaborative effort of national development aid agencies, international agencies (UNDP, ILO, and UNCTAD), and African institutions (i. a. UAR, MINCONMAR, PTA), with the World Bank and ECA acting as the Executing Agencies.