We attended the first part of the Southern Africa Focal Group Meeting held at Makokola Retreat in Mangochi, Malawi on the 9th to the 11th of May 2016. The second part of the meeting will be held in Maputo, Mozambique in September 2016. The meeting was meant to discuss the various issues among them, the Southern Africa current theme for Road Funds and to also prepare for the ARMFA Executive Meeting to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from the 18th to the 22nd of May 2016.
The meeting was well attended with a 100% representation from Chief Executive Officers of Road Funds from all member countries namely; Zambia, Malawi, Comoros, Namibia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.
The theme of the recently held focal group meeting as proposed by Zimbabwe which currently chairs the body, was “Using ICTs to optimally use scarce resources for road maintenance”. Several papers were presented by member countries.
As part of the welcome to Malawi, the opening remarks of the meeting was done by Malawi Road Fund Board Chairperson – Mrs Benadette Mandoloma, who was Guest of Honour. She stressed the need to use ICTs to ensure funds collected were optimally collected and used for road maintenance. Moreover, the praised our focus as a Focal Group especially putting ICTs on the forefront of development within our countries.
Issues discussed included; the conclusions and resolutions passed in at the ARMFA AGM held in November 2015 in Kinshasa, DRC. Presentations on Asset Management, Road Management System and Integration of Transport Management and Roads Development and Maintenance by Namibia, use of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems like SAP by Malawi and Zambia, tolling on border posts by Lesotho and use of mobile devices like smart phones for road condition surveys.
Knowledge Sharing Visits
It was noted by the meeting that Malawi and Zambia had visited Zimbabwe on a learning tour especially on tolling. Zambia has already implemented two tollgates after taking a leaf from Zimbabwe while Malawi has already received approval for change of legislation from its government to start tolling. Zambia and Namibia will host ASAFG member countries sometime in July 2016 for a technical workshop where they will share knowledge on Value for Money processes, contractor financing systems as well as application of Road Management Systems (including use of Smart Phones) in road maintenance. Member countries will also visit Kenya sometime in June 2016 to learn on the processes for ISO 9001 certification in a Road Fund or Road Authority.
Zimbabwe expects visitors from Comoros and Mozambique this year as they want to come and learn our revenue collection systems and processes
The following are the resolutions of the ASAFG meeting held in Mangochi, Malawi:
- That the topic “Using ICTs to optimally use available scarce resources for road maintenance (collections, allocations, road asset management)” as a topic for the next ARMFA Annual General Meeting.
- The word “maintenance” is to be included on all ASAFG themes and discussions
- Member countries to adopt labour-based technologies on low volume traffic roads.
- Members to utilise asset management systems for decision making (priorities, fund allocations) for road network management.
- ASAFG members agreed in principle to an upward review of the annual county subscription.
- Members to share information and not re-invent the wheel, e.g. Namibian Road Management System. (Technical visits to Zambia in July 2016 and Kenya in June 2016)
- Road Funds should enforce use of asset management systems by Road Agencies to get funding for road maintenance.
- Members to follow up on lobbying for the remaining SADC countries to become ASAFG and ARMFA members.
- Members resolved that the next ASAFG meeting will be held in Mozambique sometime in September 2016.
- Members agreed in principle to contribute towards set up costs for the ARMFA secretariat in Addis Ababa.