Many people recognize that access to adequate transport services is vital for development. Since 1987, the Sub-Saharan Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP)—a partnership driven by 36 countries—has been working with governments and regional organizations to enhance the policy and regulation environment for transport, both to facilitate growth and to lift people out of poverty. One of the challenges that we will be considering at our forthcoming meeting in Kampala (October 18-21) is how to measure progress in transport policy. For instance we could consider travel times and travel costs, or maybe the decline in the likelihood of having a road accident.
But if we really want to measure the contribution that transport makes to the economy and well-being of a country, what questions should we ask?
The right questions could empower people to find innovative solutions to their local problems. Any ideas about what they should be are most welcome.
The real legacy of SSATP is not just the policy recommendations it puts forward. It is also the technical staff, senior managers, and politicians who have developed a much deeper understanding of practical and commercial approaches to development, and of the direct linkage between transport and so many other factors in poverty-reduction. These are the people who will help convert “Africa can…” into “Africa achieved.”