ZINARA attended the first part of the ARMFA Southern Africa Focal Group (ASAFG) Meeting held at Eucalyptus Hotel, Ampfey, Madagascar from the 26th to 27th of April. 2017. The second part of the meeting will be held in Mozambique, in July 2017. The meeting was meant to discuss the various issues among them:
- ASAFG current theme for Road Funds
- Selection of new ASAFG Chairperson
- Prepare for the ARMFA Executive Meeting to be held in Cameroon from the 4th to the 6th of May 2017.
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. A new member of ASAFG, Mauritius also made a maiden appearance at the meeting.
The theme of the recently held focal group meeting as proposed by Madagascar which held the ASAFG body’s Acting Chair position, was “The ideal legal framework for an efficient Road Fund Administration”. Several papers were presented by member countries. As part of the welcome to Malawi, the opening remarks of the meeting was done by Madagascar Road Fund Director General, Mr. Randimby who warmly welcomed members and stressed the importance of knowledge sharing among member states. He also praised the 100% attendance by member states to the meeting.
Selection of New ASAFG Chairperson
A voting process was conducted and this saw Madagascar and Namibia being unanimously voted into Chairmanship and Deputy Chairmanship of ASAFG respectively.
Issues discussed included:
- Setup and governance structures of various road funds
- Legal frameworks enacted in member countries to create and empower road fund
- Functions, powers and limitations of the road funds
- Ideal operating environment for coordination of roles between Road Authorities and Road Funds that result in optimum road maintenance in African Countries
Knowledge Sharing Visits
Members visited a site 52km from the Eucalyptus hotel on 27 April 2017. This was showcasing the road development projects and the role of the Road Fund in Madagascar especially in a city called Ampefy where there is construction of a new Scientific University in that region.
- Zambia has a Roads Development Authority (RDA), an entity different from the National Road Fund Administration (NRFA is the equivalent of ZINARA). This entity is responsible for implementation of all road-related projects in the country, sets and ensures contractors adhere to set technical standards. Zimbabwe can adopt the same especially with the current challenges we have with Urban Councils where we feel that they should only focus on infrastructure issues other than roads.
- There is a committee of Ministers (Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transport), committee of Chairpersons (RDA Board, NRFA Board, Traffic Safety Board) and committee of Permanent Secretaries (RDA Board, NRFA Board, Traffic Safety Board) specifically designed to discuss Road Maintenance and Development initiatives.
- All the ASAFG member countries are looking at the way to use PPPs to fund road-related projects
- ZINARA has advanced in terms of being able to access loans for road infrastructure. ASAFG members were also interested in terms of how they can also achieve the same considering the dwindling government funding in most African countries.
- Most ASAFG member countries have developed National Road Master Plans and are religiously following them. Zimbabwe, through our Ministry of Transport and ZINARA can also drive this process especially now that we recently completed our national road condition survey project.
- In most countries, procurement of services and the management of road contract tenders is the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer of the Road Fund in consultation with the Minister of Transport.