Growth, innovation, and transport


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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.”


Stephen Vincent

Program Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa Transport Policy Program

Aunyisa Boniface Meena
October 19, 2010

Generally, with a Transport policy document, one can use it a direction for the sector in a medium term period. The sector direction can be measured through setting up proper transport strategies and targets. The targets can be measured through performance indicators to be agreed by the loacl stakeholders.

In my opininon, you obtain the level of achievement from the existing transport policy through a sector programme (Transport Programme) of which priority projects will be listed and monitored through an agreed M&E Guidelines.In the process of implementing the Transport Programme (let say 5 yaer Plan), a 3 year Rolling plan should be used as a planning model for implementing the medium term programme. The developed 3 Year Rolling Plan should be aligned with the Medium Term Expenditure Framework where government funds flows to support the programme in each of the 3 years while Development funds from Development partners are also taken as additional funds to support implementation of the prioritized projects in that year. The Rolling plan is done in each year by assessing the projects completed in that year and those which are yet to be completed will be carried forward for the next year.

Implementation of the Transport programme will give results in terms of condition of trunk, regional & district roads, rural accessibility and level of improved transport safety (road,air, railway and maritime transport. Cost of transport as well as operational costs in transport can be assessed by evaluating the implementation of the transport programme.

Capacity building can be a good measure of achievement of the transport policy. The capacity of staff to assess performance of the sector through M & E Guidelines may be part of areas to realise the achievement of the policy. The policy should indicate the level of capacity building to be developed in the transport sector. Which are the valuable professional requirements - eg Transport Economists. Transport Engineers and Statisticians.

Snowden Mmadi
October 19, 2010

The debate that had been initiated is a good one. It is very difficult to refute the fact that transport can reduce poverty in Africa. However my main concern has been that so many policies have been developed for Africa, some are now almost ten to twenty years old. But on the ground it seems things are moving yes but at a snails pace. One would ask why. And my answer will be that we have the vehicle that can reduce poverty , but with no driver in it. So many policy issues have lacked the edge due to the non involvement of technical stakeholders who are always on the ground implementing and making the dream a reality. It is unless and until this trend is addressed that we will will still have poverty reduction through transport infrastructure a day dream.

Kenneth Odero
October 19, 2010

One question we need to ask is: How do we devise ways to get people to leave their cars at home and bike or take the bus?

Zed Tura
February 01, 2011

It is a good point to mention about mass transport usage. Before we initiate people to use mass transport, we have to concentrate on the roadway geometry: how to configure it to accommodate bike and mass transportation in a safe and timely manner, so that the public would be encouraged to use the mass transportation.