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.
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.
In August 1996, the Heads of State of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) signed the Protocol on Transport, Communications and Meteorology, which sets a broad framework of regional cooperation between SADC Member States in the fields of transport, communications, and meteorology infrastructure and services. A primary objective of the Protocol is to promote the harmonization of policy, legislation, and administrative practices between member states to improve good governance within those sectors.
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.
Since the early 1990s, legal and institutional reform in the roads sector has received more attention in the Southern African Development Conference (SADC) region. This was prompted by the recognition that efforts to maintain and rehabilitate the region's road infrastructure would not deliver sustainable results unless accompanied by wide-ranging institutional strengthening, improved financing arrangements, and administrative reforms.
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.