The ASAFG Technical Workshop took place place during the period 12-15 September 2016. The following delegates from Road funds, Road Agencies and fellow Technical Industry role Players. The countries present were Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho, Comoros, Malawi and Madagascar. The technical workshop focused on three main themes as identified at ASAFAG meeting held in Malawi (May 2016) namely;
- Value for Money
- Road Management System
- Contractor Capacity Initiatives
Welcoming remarks by Zambia
The workshop official proceedings were conducted by Eng. Wallace Mumba in his capacity as acting Director / Chief Executive Officer of the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA). The NRFA took initiative to predominantly host the first ever capacity building technical workshop by ASAFG.
Eng. Wallace Mumba highlighted that the aim of the workshop is to share experience, tools, skills, tools and knowledge in the three thematic themes identified as value for money, road management systems and improving capacity for local contractors. He further extended a hand of appreciation to all institutions, individuals and the expertly selected presenters who are to deliver a successfully capacity building technical workshop.
The acting Director / Chief Executive Officer stressed that the programme is quite rich. This aspect is evident from the blending of technical sessions, site visits and various platforms for social networking and would therefore require the delegates’ most pro-active participation.
The delegates were further reminded of the ARMFA objectives in terms of sharing experiences which will strengthen networking and strategies in order to realise better road infrastructure and road transport services.
Welcoming remarks by Namibia
The Namibian Road Fund Administration Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ali Ipinge extended the welcoming remarks to all participants. As co-host of the technical workshop, Mr Ipinge highlighted the importance and relevance of the workshop. An event of this nature certainly allows the cooperative approach for breaking new grounds in road infrastructure funding and management.
Mr Ipinge put particular emphasis on the implementation of ‘value-for-money’ principles. A simple and direct question was phrased as “Are we, as Road Funds geared to ensure that the road users and in some instances, the tax payers receive return on their investments, in terms of road user charges?"
The main themes and associated topics identified for this workshop is certainly addressing the matters faced by many authorities as key challenges. As a result, the finding of solutions thereof is of utmost importance.
The Namibian CEO further stated that the ASAFG envisages that with the necessary determination and diligence the next steps would include standing discussions on the progress made by each member country regarding road condition improvements and capacity building initiatives.
Welcoming remarks by ASAFG Chairperson
By De-facto, Eng. Nancy Masiyiwa-Chamisa, who was newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Zimbabwe National Road Fund Admnistration (ZINARA) effective 1st September 2016, has assumed the role of ASAFG Chairperson. She is therefore taking over from Engineer Moses Juma who was Acting CEO for 2 years but has since reverted to his substantive position of Technical Director.
As the incoming ASAFG Chairperson, Eng. Nancy Masiyiwa-Chamisa pledged her commitment to ensuring that goals of ASAFG were met. She also promised to keep upholding the values of the association and to also immensely contribute towards improving its works.
She emphasised the importance of knowledge sharing on best practices and knowledge transfer amongst organisations for infrastructural development. Moreover, she underscored the need for collaboration on issues that affect road fund management as a means to enhancing road infrastructural development in Southern Africa.
She noted with great concern, the World Bank Report which indicated that Sub-Saharan African countries had a growth in the net deterioration of the road network since for every kilometre of road rehabilitated, an estimated three kilometres of road fell into disrepair.
The engineer further implored members to join hands so as to come up with innovative ways of growing road fund revenue to mitigate current scarce revenue sources available in the various member states.
Finally, she advised members at the workshop to take advantage of diverse skills and backgrounds so as to come with a road infrastructural framework that will promote the adoption of efficient systems and share knowledge and skills for the ultimate purpose of building and improving our road infrastructure. She ended her speech by advising road funds to be proactive where she quoted Jomo Kenyatta “Our children may learn about the heroes of the past. Our task is to make ourselves architects of the future”
Official opening by NRFA Zambia Board Chairperson
The Chairperson of The Board of National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) officiated the inaugural ASAFG Technical Workshop which ironically is discussing the National Road Fund Agency’s thematic areas which include resource mobilisation, fiduciary management and value for money.
The Chairperson acknowledged that the Road Funds in the region and the entire Africa play a critical role in promoting regional integration and trade through their efforts towards sustainable road infrastructure development and maintenance. The Chairperson stressed the importance of networking and information sharing in anchored in ARMFA’s objectives. The Chairperson stated her confidence that the different delegates will go a long way in providing solutions to some of the challenges being face among the different Road Funds however she warned that a one-size-fit-ll should not be adopted.
The Chairperson urged the workshop to enhance systems and procedures that will activate common ideas and best practices for funds mobilisation and allocation.
She then declared the ARMFA Southern African Focal Group Technical Workshop officially opened and wished the meeting success in the deliberations.
Vote of Thanks by Malawi Road Fund
The organisers of the meeting and the host of the ASAFG Technical Committee were complemented for their concerted effort in the preparation for the event. On behalf of the participants Malawi thanked the Chairperson of National Roads Agency for her encouraging welcome remarks and assured the NRFA and ASAFG Chairpersons that the meeting will yield results which will be forwarded to ASAFG’s next meeting.