Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa says 15 of its 21 member states have established dedicated Road Funds and Road Development Agencies to undertake maintenance and development of national and regional road networks.
The 15 nations are Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Rwanda, and Sudan.
In a statement, Comesa said: “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.”
It said experts who were drawn from transport, Information Communication Technology and energy sectors attended the 11th Comesa Joint Technical Committee meeting on infrastructure in Nairobi, Kenya last week, called on the remaining member states to establish such funds.
The experts meeting was also attended by Permanent Secretaries, directors and other technical staff from member states governments and specialised 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,” said the regional bloc.
The experts’ report and recommendations were also tabled before the joint meeting of ministers of infrastructure responsible for transport, ICT and energy in Nairobi last week.
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.
Consequently, 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 harmonised regional road transport regulations, standards and systems in a coordinated and synchronised manner.
The overall strategic objective is to facilitate the development of a more competitive, integrated and liberalised regional road transport market in the Eastern and Southern African region. — @okazunga.