17 December 2012

Southern Africa: SADC Roads 'Very Unsafe'

"ONE big concern we have in SADC is road safety. The SADC network has, in the past years, become very unsafe. This is a burden that our countries cannot carry," Peter Mwatile, permanent secretary of Works and Transport, told the 21st session of the Association of Southern Africa National Road Agencies (Asanra) in Swakopmund last week.

Asanra is an association of national roads agencies or authorities in the SADC region, with its main goal to enhance regional policy coordination and road transport efficiency and lowering transport costs.

Mwatile called on the agencies tasked with the management of the regional road network to "gear towards innovative road infrastructure design that enhances road safety".

The SADC road network is the region's largest public asset, with a total road network nearing one million kilometres and a current replacement value estimated at over N$430 billion.

Asanra is currently carrying out a peer review on road asset management practices among its members in order to establish a benchmark for good practice.

Mwatile said he hoped the review brought about positive changes in road network management with emphasis on road safety and enhancement of trade among SADC members.

According to him, SADC still faces a need for physical infrastructure development in the form of roads, railways, ports and harbours to support the region's economy.

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