A New Generation of Road Funds to the Rescue of African Roads
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. The main problems found in Sub-Saharan Africa are: a) revenues which belong to the road funds are not actually deposited and/or are deposited irregularly; b) contributions to the road fund are inadequate for minimal upkeep of the network; and c) fund revenues are poorly managed and, in fact, are often used for purposes other than road maintenance, such as central administration operating expenses. Three pillars support the new-generation of road funds: 1) road commercialization, 2) co-management of road funds, and 3) strict and transparent financial management.