The African Road Maintenance Funds Association Southern Africa Focal Group (ASAFG), a grouping of eight member states which form the 32 member continental-wide Road Fund Association converged in Salima, Malawi, to share knowledge and experiences in the judicious application of the Road Fund, under the theme ‘Ensuring Value for Money in Road Works.’
Zambia, through the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) and its Director/Chief Executive Officer, Eng. Wallece Mumba chairs the ASAFG.
The Malawi meeting came on the heels of the 18th ARMFA Annual General Assembly which was hosted by Namibia in March, and the ARMFA Exchange programme hosted by Zambia in April, this year, respectively.
Welcoming the delegates to Salima, Malawi, Mr. Stewart Malata, Chief Executive Officer of the Road Fund Administration stated that ASAFG meetings offered a unique platform for sharing knowledge and successes achieved by member states.
He invited the delegates to explore the beautiful fresh and warm water and sandy beaches of Lake Malawi and thanked Zambia for hosting the ARMFA Exchange Programme on its road tolling system for delegates from Sierra Leone, Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Mozambique where valuable information was shared.
And the ASAFG Chairman, Eng. Wallece Mumba said the theme “Ensuring Value for Money in Road Works” had come at the right time because road networks had played a fundamental role in ensuring free movements of people and goods within and across countries.
He urged the delegates to exercise care when financing the road assets with value for money taking into account key parameters such as quality, price technical merit, running costs, cost-effectiveness and delivery dates.
The Guest of Honour, Mr. Chancey Gondwe, Board Chairperson of the Malawi RFA, reminded the delegates that well-developed roads were a key condition for accelerating economic development and social transformation. He pointed out that Road Funds guaranteed the availability of funds for road maintenance and appreciated that funding for routine and periodic maintenance was increasing significantly in all countries. He appreciated the institutional separation of the Road Funds and Roads Authorities which had enhanced transparency and accountability.
Mr. Gondwe further said road users were now demanding quality road works and value of money mostly through the media. He said that although Road Funds were not project implementers, the reputational risks of poor road works were, as expected, going to the Road Funds.
And giving a vote of thanks, Mr. Ali Ipinge, Chief Executive Officer of the Nambia Road Fund Administration expressed gratitude for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to the delegates by Malawi stressing that the meeting was to discuss issues which would shape the association going forward.
He raised concern overall the status of the road network on the continent which he said had shrunk. He agreed with other speakers on the need to consider adverse climate change in the design of roads.
The workshop was segmented into technical sessions, formal meeting and site visits.