Africa needs $90bn annually for roads

Minister Mpofu

Minister Mpofu

Freeman Razemba recently in Victoria Falls
Africa needs $90 billion annually for transport infrastructure development for the next decade to sustain economic growth, Transport and Infrastructural Development, Minister Dr Obert Mpofu has said.

This comes as the World Bank also announced recently that Zimbabwe required at least $33 billion in the next decade for infrastructure development, while the African Development Bank estimated that $14.2 billion was needed to revamp key infrastructure.

Speaking during the African Road Maintenance Funds Association (ARMFA) annual general meeting in Victoria Falls last week, Dr Mpofu said Africa was one of the richest continents in terms of natural resources, but was probably ranked as lowest when it came to transport infrastructure.

“You will agree with me that where public pays for a service, they expect to see the results. In your (Road Funds) case the results expected are good road networks and road infrastructure.

“The continent’s infrastructure deficit has been identified as one of the most significant barriers to sustaining Africa’s growth. It is estimated that the continent will need to invest nearly $90 billion per year for infrastructure development over the next decade to bridge this infrastructure deficit,” he said.

Transport and Infrastructure Development Permanent Secretary Mr Munesu Munodawafa, said Zimbabwe required $5 billion to rehabilitate the entire national road network for the next five years. He also highlighted the need for accountability in the administration of collected funds.

“The country requires at least $5 billion to rehabilitate the entire road network for the next five years. The construction of roads is also expensive. At least $1 million is required for constructing every one kilometre,” he said.

Mr Munodawafa said the provision of good and modern roads infrastructure was a condition for economic growth and technological renewal.

World Bank senior transport specialist Mr Justin Runji recommended sound monitoring policy and evaluation of road funds in Africa. “It is critically important to reconstitute policy formulation, policy oversight and performance monitoring and evaluation capacity as a minimum, within transport ministries.

“Road sector reforms had a negative capacity impact within the parent transport ministries and some have not fully recovered. Furthermore, transport policy objectives and related performance indicators should be simplified and limited to a set of measurables commonly used and understood key transport indicators that are known to contribute to intended outcomes,” he said.

Mr Runji said to underpin reforms, strategies were required to safeguard operational autonomy and corporate governance within the sector institutions, such as road funds.

He said the World Bank support in Africa, besides funding the development of roads and other transport infrastructure, would be an appropriate source of resources specifically to improve the capacity of road funds to perform their functions.

“The World Bank’s agenda would therefore be to continue supporting the development of the transport sector in Africa including the main mode-roads, to support development of underpinning transport policies, and to be part of the ongoing capacity enhancement efforts of the transport sector institutions including road funds,” he said.

Chief executives of road funds from 32 African countries were in Zimbabwe for the Africa Road Maintenance Funds Association (ARMFA) 13th annual general meeting in Victoria Falls.

A total of 34 countries make up ARMFA.

ARMFA, which was running under the theme, “The role of Road Funds in Socio-Economic Development”, started last Monday and ended on Saturday.