The African Road Maintenance Fund Association Southern Africa Focal Group (ASAFG) gathered in Maseru,Lesotho to discuss and share experiences on the different climatic conditions on road construction and maintenance and the impact on financing.
Officiating at the event Lesotho Minister of Finance Dr. Moeketsi Majoro said the gathering had presented an opportunity for Road Funds to find solutions to deal with the effects of critical climatic changes that threaten the preservation of the road asset and infrastructure.
Dr. Majoro said Africa had found its voice in coming together to put structures in place to address maintenance issues as well as specialized funds dedicated to roads maintenance in the light of unpredictable weather patterns.
“The climate is a mess these days and we need to decide how we are going to deal with the ravages and how we are going to maintain roads while dealing with unpredictable weather patterns,” he said.
And Dr. Majoro has called for the prioritization of road maintenance and a balance to be maintained between funding towards the preservation of already existing road infrastructure through maintenance and new road constructions.
“Governments all over Africa are faced with a tough decision to make between new road developments and maintaining existing roads but we must note that upgrading a road that has been allowed to decay is more expensive than maintaining it. And so as Road Funds you must push governments to prioritise maintenance.”
And speaking on the sidelines of the ASAFG meeting NRFA Director/ CEO Eng. Wallece Mumba said Road Funds need to look at ideal financing structures to deal with the emergencies in the road sector caused by climatic changes and noted that
The importance of a well maintained and developed road network system as a catalyst for economic and social development in any country cannot be overemphasized.
“Climate change has a toll on our infrastructure and we need to find ways to adequately respond and finance emergencies that occur on our road infrastructure.”
The 2nd 2018 ASAFG meeting was held under the theme “Effects of Different Climatic Conditions on Road Construction and Maintenance” and ran from the 26 of August to the 31 of August 2018.
The first meeting was held in Zambia in June under the theme “Innovating Financing of Road Infrastructure.”
“And so the approach we are taking is that of breaking barriers and learning from each other and implementing these strategies that we are sharing. We have shared a lot in terms of raising resources for new projects as well as maintenance. In Zambia we have already implemented the Road Tolling Programme and financing through pension funds which has worked really well for us and is being adopted elsewhere in Africa.” ASAFAG is an arm of the main ARMFA, a 32 member continental body whose governance structure comprises Southern, Western, Eastern, and Central African Focal Groups.