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.
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 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.
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 present Sub-Saharan Africa Transport Program (SSATP) progress report, specifies that, while the Program's basic premises, still prevail - policy reform, essential to obtain improved provision of transport services, within a common regulatory framework on sector policies and strategies - it is however, at present, focusing on assisting African countries in capacity building, and ensuring an exchange of experiences, among countries facing similar options.
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.