Africa’s road infrastructure deficit hinders continental integration, says report

Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina

A new report highlighted Africa's significant road infrastructure deficit, emphasizing the need for urgent measures to address increased production and transaction costs hindering opportunities under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

The report, titled “Cross-Border Road Corridors Expanding Market Access in Africa and Nurturing Continental Integration,” revealed that despite roads being the primary mode of transport, carrying 80 percent of goods and 90 percent of passenger traffic, only 43 percent of Africa's main population had access to an all-season road.

According to the report, “Just 53 percent of roads on the continent are paved, isolating people from access to basic services, including healthcare, education, trade hubs, and economic opportunities.”

Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the , stressed the importance of collaborative efforts to fast-track the integration of African economies, lower transport costs, and improve regional trade and competitiveness. He stated, “A well-connected Africa will be a more competitive Africa.”

During a special session of the Africa Investment Forum 2023 Market Days in Marrakech, , Dr Adesina announced the dedication of a special boardroom annually for regional corridors to foster collaboration, co-financing, and the rapid development of strategic corridors.

He outlined five priority areas to optimize the benefits of developing regional corridors, including dedicating pooled financing facilities, building special industrial zones around the corridors, adopting a systematic approach, and establishing one-stop border posts to facilitate trade.

Dr Adesina reaffirmed the African Development Bank's commitment to infrastructure development, with over $44 billion invested in the last seven years in roads, ports, railways, and power pools to interlink countries and boost trade.

He also announced a $500 million contribution to develop the strategic Lobito Corridor, connecting , , and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Other projects include the Desert-to-Power initiative, the -Beira corridor transport system, the Kazungula bridge, the Nacala rail and port project, and the Lagos-Abidjan highway.

As of 2022, the African Development Bank financed 25 transport corridors, constructing over 18,000 km of roads, 27 border posts, and 16 bridges for $13.5 billion.

Madam Danae Pauli, Senior Advisor for the US-led Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, expressed her government's commitment to partnering with African nations and institutions to spur economic growth and improve lives.

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