The note examines the concession technique in railway operations, for the first time used in Sub-Saharan Africa, in Cote d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso, who jointly concessioned the Abidjan-Ouagadougou Railway to a private operator in December 1994.
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.
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 review presents an overview of the road sector in the seven UDEAC countries and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It examines the adequacy of the infrastructure services as well as the efforts to improve financing and management and, thus, the sustainability of service and efficiency. The Central African Republic and Chad are the two truly landlocked countries in the region. However, the Democratic Republic of Congo also faces many of the same problems because of its vast land area and the narrow outlet to the Atlantic Ocean in the west.
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.