Zambia’s Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe has called on Road Funds in Southern Africa to think outside the box and explore innovative financing Solutions for road infrastructure development.

In a speech read on her behalf by Secretary to the Treasury Dr. Fredson Yamba, at the official opening of the just ended African Road Maintenance Funds Association Southern Africa Focal Group (ASAFAG) workshop hosted by the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) Hon. Mwanakatwe stated that road funds were entrusted with a huge resource envelope which was not enough to bridge the widening gap for road maintenance.

She said the primary focus for Zambia, like most of Africa, had been improving and maintaining existing major international trade corridors, while tapping into home grown solutions for innovative financing of road infrastructure development.

She noted that the ASAFG workshop was a reflection of the unity of purpose and a realization that roads were very important in the social and economic integration of the region and the wider African continent.

The Finance Minister said Zambia had used the platform to embark on the Road Tolling Programme with established internal systems and controls giving stakeholders the trust and confidence that tolls were properly accounted for and utilized for road maintenance, construction and rehabilitation as per clause 11 of the Tolls Act number 14 of 2011.

“ Road Tolling  in Zambia is still in its infancy but from the time the programme commenced in 2013 to date, K2.2 billion or US$220 million has been raised from which we have financed major road projects including the ongoing construction of the Kazungula bridge at the border between Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Once completed the Kazungula bridge would facilitate regional trade, commerce and investment through improved efficiency or transit traffic and reduction on the prolonged period of time that local and international freight would have to spend on either side of the border.”

And NRFA Director/CEO Eng. Wallece Mumba urged the ASAFAG to be committed to the principles of the association and rally in support of all the deliberations which would result in an appropriate agenda for action for the respective Road Funds anchored on innovative financing for road infrastructure.

The workshop was being held under the theme “Innovative Financing of Road Infrastructure “and will ran from the 19th to the 22nd of June, 2018. It included technical meetings, presentation of country reports, and site visits to Katuba and Manyumbi Toll Stations.

ASAFAG is an arm of the main ARMFA, 32 member continental bodies whose governance structure comprises Southern, Western, Eastern, and Central African Focal Groups. ARMFA aims at providing a networking platform for member countries.

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