Fifteen out of 21 countries in the Common market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) have established dedicated Road Funds and Road Development Agencies to undertake maintenance, and development of roads for both the regional and national road networks.
These are: Burundi, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
For most of these countries, funding for road maintenance has been derived from fuel levy while funding for new construction and rehabilitation has been through borrowing from development banks and support from cooperating partners.
Experts attending the ongoing 11th COMESA Joint Technical Committee meeting on infrastructure, in Nairobi, Kenya, which brought together experts in transport, ICT and energy, have now called on the remaining countries to establish such funds.
The experts meeting was attended by permanent secretaries, directors and other technical staff from Member States governments and specialized agencies.
The meeting observed that roads command a bigger market share for surface transport. Hence, COMESA countries have undertaken road sector management reforms to address financing of routine maintenance, rehabilitation and construction of new roads by establishing road funds administration.
The expert’s report and recommendations will be tabled before the joint meeting of ministers of infrastructure responsible for transport, ICT and energy on Thursday 20 June 2019 in Nairobi.
Meanwhile, COMESA Secretariat has so far conducted awareness workshops on the Tripartite Transport and Transit Facilitation (TTTF) Programme in six Member States. This is part of a 710,000 Euros provided by the European Union to support the awareness activities.
As a result, the countries have started submitting requests for technical support to start implementing the TTTF programme. The programme was designed to assist Member States domesticate and implement the agreed harmonized regional road transport regulations, standards and systems in a coordinated and synchronized manner.
The overall strategic objective is to facilitate the development of a more competitive, integrated and liberalized regional road transport market in the Eastern and Southern African region.
A sub-programme for COMESA specific activities was formulated which focused on operationalization the COMESA Carrier License, support enhancement of the One Stop Border Posts and its performance, supporting establishment of Corridor Management Institutions and road safety Management among others.