To enhance socio-economic development, the first International Road Federation (IRF) Africa Congress has urged African leaders to endeavour to connect the continent with air, land and maritime transport.
It also decried African governments for not using indigenous engineers as consultants in the design and supervision of road projects, and suggested that they be engaged in all designs and supervision of road projects. It, however, encouraged them to partner with foreign consultants.
In a communiqué issued yesterday at the end of its three-day conference in Abuja, the IRF identified corruption as the “cancer” in sub-Saharan Africa that seriously hampered road development and therefore appealed to the leaders to muster the political will to combat the “evil”.
“The congress also observed that most SSA (sub-Sahara African) countries lacked reliable data,” the document said. “It was therefore emphasised that having a reliable road database was critical to the successful management of the road sector.”
It noted the monumental loss of lives on roads worldwide along with the huge amounts of money expended annually on road accidents and urged all countries to draw up comprehensive road management plans to address the challenges.
Participants also lamented that most countries were not funding the sector adequately and recommended allocation of sufficient funds for road projects, while advising countries to resort to the use of public private sector partnership (PPP) for road sector development.
Noting that road safety was multi-sectoral, they recommended collaboration by nations to build capacity of stakeholders and finance women engineers to enable them participate more effectively in the development of the sector.
“The congress recommended a systematic approach to improving road infrastructure for safety by applying proactive strategies and integrating safety in all phases of planning design and operation of road infrastructure,” the communiqués read.