In West Africa, road transport accounts for most of the flows (about 80% of foreign trade in transit from ports and more than 90% of intra-regional trade) and plays an important role in political and economic integration countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It helps to bring markets closer. However, free movement is not a tangible reality. It is strongly hampered by many obstacles. The low level of service in road corridors, physical barriers, illegal removals, systematic racketeering, delays in the transport of goods between the different member countries are the causes. Any obstacle to the fluidity of the traffic thus constitutes a handicap for the competitiveness of the products on the world market.
According to the African Center for Trade, Integration and Development (Enda CACID) Intra-Community exports and re-exports amounting to US $ 9185 million per annum represent 53% of intra-regional trade (US $ 17436 million per year) and 6% of the global trade of the region. A study by the World Bank showed that a 10% drop in transport costs would generate 25% increase in trade on the continent and in the sub-region.
Much remains to be done for the ECOWAS member countries to develop their road network on the one hand and find solutions to the problems of transporting goods and people on the other hand. In 2013, the estimated density of the African road network was the lowest in the world at 7 km per 100 km2.
It is a sine-qua-non-choice for the success of their economic and political integration. The President of the ECOWAS Parliament, Moustapha Cissé Lô, during the meeting of the Joint Committee on Infrastructure and Industrial Development / Agriculture, Environment, Water Resources and Sustainable Development held in Cotonou last October declared that “the vision of the ECOWAS is to create a region without borders “.
To develop this network and facilitate the transport of goods and people, the continent’s strategy is multimodal. Congo has issued a call for tenders in 2015 to rehabilitate the Congo-Ocean line linking Brazzaville to Pointe-Noire, the rehabilitation of the Dakar-Bamako railway line should boost exchanges with Mali and a line was opened in 2015 linking Zambia, DRC and Angola. This work must make it possible to multiply by more than five the tonnage of goods transported. Gabon has also launched a gigantic program to modernize its road network and has gone from 817 km of paved roads in 2009 to 1451 km in early 2015.
Source: AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK GROUP Department of Transport, Urban Development and ICT (various documents)