Welcome to the 2012 AFCAP Practitioners’ Conference blog from sunny Maputo, Mozambique, brought to you by DFID and Crown Agents and hosted by the Mozambique National Roads Administration. Some 163 delegates from 18 different countries have registered to attend the three day event from 3rd-5th July to learn about the latest roads research and developments in a series of interactive sessions.
His Excellency Deputy Minister Francisco Pereira delivered today’s welcoming address followed by Camilla Lema from the World Bank and the Sub Saharan Africa Transport Policy Programme, who presented a keynote address on rural access and mobility, the challenges of climate change and the importance of gender equality for economic development.
Today’s opening programme focused on the technical specifications for roads construction, materials and surfaces, maintenance techniques and sustainability across AFCAP’s focus countries and further afield.
Tertiary road maintenance; private sector engagement in rural roads maintenance activities, citing a successful PPP experience in Cameroon as well as road maintenance management in Inhambane Province, Mozambique were discussed in the morning’s sessions.
Speakers during the afternoon sessions discussed everything from spiral wound U-PVC pipe trials in Uganda and thermoplastic composites as a degradation-resistant material used for bridge construction to alternative technologies for eco-road building for emerging economies and tropical road materials for rural access roads.
Tomorrow’s programme will assess rural transport services and follow up on the social and economic impacts of the Zambezia province ‘Feeder Roads’ project. Delegates will also have the opportunity to attend a choice of six field projects to assess the various roads projects in action.
Blog by: Emma White, Crown Agents
Today’s AFCAP conference programme looked beyond road construction materials to assessing the need for and provision of rural transport services.
Transport consultant Paul Starkey kicked off the morning programme with a presentation on developing ‘indicators’ to assess the quantity and quality of rural transport services. Research is taking into account the users’ perspectives in terms of fares, availability, speed and safety along with operator, regulator and development perspectives.
Daniel O’Farrell from Riders for Health discussed how transport management solutions including the provision of ambulances, motorcycles and other vehicles plus maintenance support are helping to increase rural access to healthcare in Africa.
Improving the efficiency of transport services to support Mozambique’s expanding agricultural sector was the focus of a presentation by Mathenge Mwehe, a lecturer at Maseno University, Kenya, while Regina O. Amoako-Sakyi, a lecturer at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana highlighted the high numbers of children who walk for miles to school each day and the reasons why so few cycle instead.
Gaye Thompson, managing director of SCDS-SAL, rounded up the morning’s session with a follow up on the social and economic impacts of the Zambézia Feeder Roads project in Mozambique, last assessed some 10 years ago. Positive preliminary findings included increased traffic and more schools, health centres, water supplies and local markets.
An afternoon of field exercises enabled delegates to see firsthand roads under construction in Maracuene just outside Maputo and to speak to local people on the island of Macaneta about how they use local transport as well as how far it meets their needs. They examined design methods for low volume sealed roads, axle load surveys and factors for different vehicle types and monitored the condition of roads using the Global Positioning System method. On returning from the field trips the various groups analyzed their collective data for key results.
After a long day, guests enjoyed cocktails at an outside reception in front of dance troupes, followed by a sit down dinner and more singing and dancing with many delegates performing their own special dance moves!
Blog by: Emma White, Crown Agents
In good spirits after the night’s lively entertainment, delegates arrived for the final day of the conference, which focused on how roads are crucial for meeting community needs.
Imelda Julies and Petronella Theron from the South African National Roads Agency discussed how construction and training in construction of roads and for communities along the Orange river in the Siyanda district municipalities including bridges, sidewalks, signage and bus shelters is helping to improve access to transport, pedestrian safety and social transport needs resulting in increased employment and economic development.
Training engineer Henry Komakech provided an overview of low cost sealing training including practical applications on low volume roads in Uganda and Tom Falconer from Roughton International discussed training for thin bituminous road surfaces in Ethiopia.
Dr Fatima L. Adamu from the National Union of Road Transport Workers delivered an engaging presentation on an emergency transport scheme providing timely and safe transport for maternal and child care emergencies in four Nigerian States. Nigeria is second only to India in terms of the number of maternal deaths, with transport identified as a key indicator. Under the programme, four drivers are nominated in each community, trained and introduced to local health personnel and compensated for the cost of fuel to transport pregnant women to health facilities.
After yesterday’s field groups reported back on their respective exercises and experiences, conference facilitator Les Sampson collated key issues raised during the three day conference and on the various AFCAP projects for a group debate. Building capacity, raising awareness, supporting research, continued funding and the dissemination of lessons learned were amongst the key solutions agreed upon.
Sampson asked the audience to openly discuss a range of issues including which initiatives had been enacted since last year’s conference, whether we are optimising scarce resources and how AFCAP can help in the future. DFID’s senior infrastructure adviser Liz Jones highlighted the crucial need for the transport sector to be considered when setting targets beyond the Millennium Development Goals.
The second AFCAP Practitioners' Conference concluded with a second address from His Excellency Deputy Minister Francisco Pereira before delegates departed, we hope inspired to continue collective efforts to achieve AFCAP's goal of improving access for rural communities in Africa.