Thursday, November 01, 2012

'Zambia's road network has potential to facilitate trade'

'Zambia's road network has potential to facilitate trade'
By Brina Manenga-Siwale in Livingstone
Thu 01 Nov. 2012, 12:30 CAT

THE Road Development Agency says Zambia has an extensive road network with potential to facilitate trade and commerce.

Making his presentation during the on-going African Road Maintenance Funds Association (ARMFA) annual general meeting in Livingstone on Monday, RDA senior manager for construction and maintenance Charles Mushota said the extensive road network would provide the country with good internal access to agriculture and tourism areas.

He said it was unfortunate that most roads were in a deplorable state.
"Due to many years of neglect, the condition of the road infrastructure had deteriorated to an extent that at the end of the 1970s, only 40-50 per cent was considered to be in good condition. By the beginning of the 1990s the value of the network had shrunk to US$1.5 billion from US$2.3 billion in the 1970s and only 20 per cent of the network was in good condition," Mushota said.

He said the roads in Zambia and some parts of Africa have continued to deteriorate despite attempts by the World Bank and donor support to save the road network.

Mushota said the government recognised the key role road infrastructure plays in realising sustainable economic development.

"In the view of the new government, the unmet demand for physical infrastructure to support the delivery of transport services limits economic opportunity and is therefore a major barrier to the achievement of meaningful national development," he said.

Mushota said the government would rehabilitate and upgrade the existing road network, including feeder roads in all districts, to prescribed standards.

He said the government would construct ring roads around major cities to decongest the central business districts.

"The construction of roads will promote employment creation through the use of labour intensive technologies and the use of local resources," said Mushota.

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