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  • Writer's pictureInfrastructure Exchange

Growing a world-class roads network for Africa

Namibia’s finance minister, Calle Schlettwein.

The Africa Road Maintenance Funds Association (ARMFA) wants to help Africa develop a world-class system that will pave the way for improved road networks on the continent.

Africa’s road networks do not rank highly in comparison to other countries, with no country ranking inside the top 10 in the world. One of the biggest challenges identified is a lack of finance to maintain this infrastructure.

ARMFA aims to develop a network for the exchange of information and experiences on the practices of financing road maintenance in Africa and the operation of the road funds and road maintenance funds in Africa.

Investment in efficient transport infrastructure has been identified as a critical input factor for Africa to take a leap forward.

During the 17th Annual General Assembly of ARFMA, held under the theme “Sustainable Road Infrastructure: Impact on Regional Integration and Free Trade Africa” Ali Ipinge, second vice-president, ARFMA said the theme is aligned to the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Namibia’s finance minister, Calle Schlettwein told attendees that it was the responsibility of road funds to ensure sustainable funding of maintenance and preservation of the road network.

“The very object, which justifies the existence of the road funds is the mandated role to raise optimal funding for the upkeep of the road infrastructure, both paved and unpaved road networks. Presumably, the raising of funds does not erode the road user’s ability to pay and overall national competitiveness,” he said.

Schlettwein reminded road funds that it is their responsibility to collect user fees and raise funds from domestic, bilateral and multilateral financial institutions for the needs in the road sector. Additionally, they were responsible for ensuring the optimal allocation of those funds, ensuring value for money.

Schlettwein reiterated that they are accountable for prudent fund management, liquidity, sustainable utilisation and co-funding of road network inline with national development initiatives.

“Prudence in fund management demands zero-tolerance to any manifestations of graft, impropriety and corruption. In fact, this is as mandatory for fund management as for the construction and operations side of road works for which the development of local capacity to execute the projects needs to be enabled competitively,” he warned.

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