Africa > Africa Situation Of Transport Modes

Africa: Africa Situation Of Transport Modes





Africa Situation Of Transport Modes

Roads and road transport

The road transport system involves multi-dimensional issues including developing and maintaining infrastructure, vehicles, road safety, impact on human health and the environment, human and institutional capacity building and financing.

Road Network by Sub-region

African countries together had about 2.06 million km of roads in 2001, resulting in a road density of 6.84 km per 100 sq. km. The network had expanded to 2.42 million km by 2005, with a proportional growth in the road density to 8.3 km per 100 sq. km. Although the expansion of the African road network over the four years is encouraging, the density is still low.

As it can be seen in Figure 1, the highest proportion of roads in Africa is found in Southern Africa (29 per cent), Western Africa (24 per cent) and Eastern Africa (22 per cent). The three sub-regions of Africa are also home to the highest road densities of the continent, with 12.3 km, 11.5 km and 8.4 km for every 100 sq. km of surface area, respectively.

Of the total African road network, only 580,066 Km or 22.7 per cent was paved in 2005. A look at the proportion of paved roads by sub-region shows a huge diversity. Whereas, Northern Africa had the highest share (49 per cent) of the continent’s paved roads, leading the rest of the sub¬regions by a wide margin, the second highest share (27 per cent) of the paved roads was found in Southern Africa. The share of paved roads in the other sub-regions ranged from 1 to 13 per cent.

Road construction and maintenance standards are not uniform for all African countries. Whereas few countries have relatively adequate financial and human resources to build roads and maintain them to international standards, many African countries are not in position to do so.
Overall, road network development has been inadequate in many African countries. Of even greater concern is the poor maintenance of existing roads, resulting in many sections of the network to be unusable during the wet season.

The Trans-African Highway (TAH) program, launched with the objective of linking Africa’s capitals and other commercially important centers of production and consumption was first included in the UN Transport and Communication Decade in Africa. The TAH consists of eight major routes: Cairo-Gaborone, Lagos-Mombasa, Dakar-Djamena-Djibouti, Algiers-Lagos, Beira-Lobito, Tripoli-Windhoek, Lagos-Nouakchott, and Cairo-Dakar. The total length of these highways is 54,962 km, of which 72 per cent is paved and the remaining 28 per cent is classified as secondary or feeder roads. According to the Evaluation Report of UNTACDA II (2002), lack of adequate resources and absence of properly functioning coordination and monitoring mechanism, among others reasons, had hampered the implementation of the program.

A study jointly conducted by ECA and AfDB to review the implementation status of TAH network identified the missing links to be 21 per cent of the total TAH network. The missing links are indicated in Figure 2.3 by dotted lines.  As the Republic of South Africa had been excluded from the TAH program during the Apartheid period, it is now recommended to extend the Cairo-Gaborone TAH section to Pretoria, and the Tripoli-Windhoek to Cape Town.

Road Transport: vehicle fleet and operation

Road transport is the most dominant mode of motorized transport in Africa, accounting for 80 per cent of the goods and 90 per cent of the passenger traffic within the continent.
A study by NEPAD in 2006 indicated that there were about 20 million road vehicles both public and private in Africa, of which Central Africa accounted for 2 per cent, Eastern Africa for 11 per cent, Northern Africa for 9 per cent, Southern Africa for 58 per cent and Western Africa for 21 per cent.

The average age of commercial road vehicles (buses and trucks) is 20 years or higher, against the 8 to 12 years for developing countries as a whole and less than 10 years for industrialized countries. The combined effect of the poor condition of the commercial vehicles and roads in Africa, results in the low utilization rate of 65,000 km/year compared to 100,000 km in Asia and 250,000 km in Europe.  Transit times on African transport corridors are unduly long due to a number of reasons, including unclear and sometimes conflicting rules and regulations, inefficient service providers, road blocks, as well as cumbersome administrative and customs procedures.

The existence of roadblocks and numerous checkpoints on African corridors has created a serious challenge to transport facilitation and trade in the continent. It leads to excessive traffic delays thus resulting in substantial increase in transport costs. As it can be seen in Table 2 in 2008 the major corridors in West Africa had 1.7 to 2.40 roadblocks on every 100 km route. The Tema-Ouagadougou corridor had the most frequent check points, with 2.40 per 100 km.

A SADC report on implementation status of Trans-Africa Highways estimated that about 3.3 million vehicle-hours are spent annually for passing through the borders in that sub-region, the cost of which was estimated at USD 4.8 million.

Ports and maritime transport

Sea ports are fundamental outlets of international trade for both coastal and land-locked countries. Sea transport has a significant cost advantage over surface transport for dry and liquid bulk cargoes or containerized cargo.

The importance of maritime transport emanates from the fact that over 90 per cent of the world international trade transits through ports. Maritime transport is even more dominant in Africa as it accounts for 92 to 97 per cent of Africa’s international trade. However, poorly maintained port infrastructure and inefficient operations remain major bottlenecks for African trade. With a total coastline of 30,725 km, Africa has 90 major ports, accounting for over 95 per cent of its international import and export trade, six of which are island countries and fifteen landlocked countries. Africa’s major ports are shown in Figure 3 (i.e., on the Map showing the Trans-African highways). These ports handle only 6 per cent of global traffic, of which only 6 ports, 3 in Egypt and 3 in South Africa, handle about 50 per cent of Africa’s container traffic.

The Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic, in its study of 73 ports in SSA, has identified port capacity limitations and lack of institutional reforms as two important constraints that must be addressed without delay for African ports to effectively contribute to Africa’s international trade. Africa’s port productivity is low compared to the rest of the world. It is estimated that the average productivity in African ports is about 30 per cent of international norm. Poor management, and limited and poorly maintained equipment account for the low productivity.

An important performance indicator of port operations is the dwell time for vessels. According to NEPAD-AU studies, the average dwell time in a number of major African ports is about 11 days, which is three times that of average dwell times in the ports of other developing regions. Douala in Central Africa, Dar-es-salaam in Eastern Africa, Beira and Maputo in Southern Africa and Guinea in Western Africa have the highest dwell times.

According to UNCTAD’s Maritime Review for 2006, the volume of goods loaded and unloaded in African ports is estimated to be 860 million tones per year, resulting in the continent’s share of about 2.1 per cent of the world’s total. Similarly, container ships account for less than two per cent of the African merchant fleet; the vast majority being conventional cargo ships. The shipping lines that principally service long-distance sea routes consider most of Africa's coastal traffic as mere subsidiary to their traditional overseas activities.

Airports and air transport

Africa had about 4,000 airports and airfields in 2007, of which only 20 per cent had paved runways. The vast majority of airports serve only smaller aircrafts for domestic services. A significant number of Africa’s airports do not meet ICAO standards and recommended practices. Runways, taxiways, parking spaces, passenger and freight terminals as well as cargo handling and electro-mechanical equipment are in such a poor condition that they require major rehabilitation and upgrading. Only 117 of Africa’s airports are classified as international airports.

Africa’s share of global air transport services remains modest at about 5.2 per cent of the two billion passengers carried by 190 Member States of ICAO and approximately 3.6 per cent of freight for the year 2006.  Although Africa’s global share of air transport services remains low in absolute terms, the growth rate of air traffic in the continent is higher than that of the world’s average. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), in 2005, Africa’s air traffic had a growth rate of 11 per cent for passengers and 8 per cent for freight, compared to the global figures of 8.3 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively.

Passengers carried to and from African airports grew from 30 million in 2001 to 40 million in 2006, which is an average annual growth of 6 per cent. South Africa, with 12.9 million passengers in 2006 has by far the largest share of passengers carried.  Africa’s air transport sub-sector is also expected to continue on a strong growth path in the coming years. The forecast indicates a growth of more than 5% for the passengers and 6% for the freight.   According to NEPAD’s study on transport infrastructure (2006), out of a total of 1167 aircrafts operated by African Airlines, the vast majority (about 80 per cent) were 10 years old or higher, with nearly half of the total (48 per cent) falling in the age group of 20 years or higher.

Africa’s aircraft fleet average age of 20 years compares unfavorably with 12 years of that of North America, nine years of that of Europe and seven years of that of Asia.

The Yamoussoukro Decision

The most radical step to-date in liberalizing air transport in the continent was taken in 1988 when African Ministers responsible for civil aviation, adopted the Yamoussoukro Declaration on a New African Air Transport Policy. This Declaration was a response to the deregulation and liberalization policies that had been implemented in USA and Europe since the late 1970’s. The Yamoussoukro Declaration was aimed at creating a conducive environment for the development of intra-African and international air services in Africa.

To accelerate the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration, the African Ministers Responsible for Civil Aviation adopted the “Decision” related to the implementation of the “Yamoussoukro Declaration” for the liberalization of access to air transport markets in Africa at their meeting in Yamoussoukro in November 1999.

The Heads of State and Government of the Organization of the African Unity (OAU) (now AU) at the summit held in July 2000 in Lome, Togo, endorsed the Decision of the Ministers. The Decision reaffirmed the commitment of African countries to gradually eliminate non-physical barriers to intra-Africa air transport and restriction linked to: the granting of traffic rights, particularly the fifth freedom traffic right; aircraft capacity of African airlines; traffic regulation; designation of operating instruments; and operation of cargo flights.

Since the adoption of this Decision, African countries in collaboration with African regional organizations, have implemented a limited number of air transport liberalization policies; therefore the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision still remains a challenge to most African countries.

Railways and rail transport

Railways are the most cost-effective mode of transport for moving bulk cargo for long distances over land. They are suited to container traffic between ports and capitals. The relative importance of the rail system compared to other modes is the advantage it has gained from recent economic and technological trends including higher energy prices, the growth of container stations and new increases in flows of bulk trade and traffic. However, the railways in Africa carry only 1 per cent of the global railway passenger traffic and 2 per cent of the goods traffic.
The railways connectivity is very low. In 2005 Africa had a total railway network of 90,320 km or 3.1 km of per 1,000 sq. km.

Most of the network, having been built at the end of the nineteenth century or the beginning of the twentieth century, when the most important demand for transport emanated from the need to link ports to the hinterland producing primary commodities for export.
Poor management, old and poorly maintained track, rolling stock and other facilities has left railways in Africa in a poor state. The only exceptions are, Tazara, the Trans-Gabonese, the Trans-Cameroonian and the mining lines which were built in the late 1970s. Of the total number of the Africa Union member countries, seventeen have no railway. These are: Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, the Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Libya, Mauritius, the Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, the Seychelles, Sierra Leone (the railway no longer works) and Somalia.

African Railway lines use nine different gauges. The following three are widely used:
• The 1.067 m gauge is the most widely used gauge, representing 61.3 per cent of the continent’s network, mainly in Sub Sahara African countries.
• The 1.000 m gauge representing 19.2 per cent of the continent’s network and,
• The 1.435 m gauge representing 14.5 per cent of the continent’s network (dominating in Northern Africa.)

The above physical characteristic of the rail networks in Africa form major hindrances to the introduction of modern trains, having high speed and carrying capacity.  In spite of the major investments made over the 1970s and 1980s in infrastructure and rolling stock, the role of railways, both in the transport of goods and of persons, has continued to decline nationally and subregionally.

The poor maintenance of rail infrastructure and the paucity of available rolling stock have contributed to the deterioration of rail service quality. In addition, railways are facing competition from road transport over the long haulage distances in which they enjoyed a comparative advantage. Moreover, railway companies were (and some still continue to be) characterized by bureaucracy, over-staffing and low productivity.
The situation called for reform in a number of African countries through privatization, commercialization or simply the closure of some railways. The railway companies in North Africa, on their part, have been revamped, giving them greater management autonomy.

Inland water transport

The inland water transport mode is little used in Africa despite the fact that it is an excellent way of opening up remote areas. Africa has this cheap energy and environment friendly mode of transport but its development and exploitation have been slow over the past decade at a time when its importance in other regions of the world has increased. This is because Africa has only a few internationally navigable inland waterways in the Congo, the Nile and Zambezi basins while the greater part of its rivers have remained undeveloped with depths that vary seasonally and remain unpredictable. Lakes offer the best options for inland water transport, particularly in East and Central Africa.

The major constraints of inland waterway transport are the following: poor safety and security due to lack of communications and SAR system; poor infrastructure at terminals; difficulties arising from seasonal blockages caused by water weeds that often close in land waterways routes and terminals; and lack of modern fleet to provide reliable transport services.

Related Articles
  • Africa Transport Challenges and Constraints

    2012/08/09 更多     Africa Transport Challenges and Constraints In spite of the efforts made by African governments and their development partners in formulating and implementing measures, polices, strategies and programmes to develop adequate, safe, secure and affordable transport system that supports efforts to eradicate poverty and bring about sustainable development, a wide gap still exists between planned targets and the level of achievement. This can be attributed to the numerous challenges and constraints that the region faces in relation to the development of sustainable transport systems. The major challenges and constraints include the following.
  • Africa Progress Of Transport Sector

    2012/08/09 更多     Africa Progress Of Transport Sector Transport and trade facilitation Transport safety and security In West Africa, the COSCAP  Significant transport infrastructure development and services, including roads, railways, airports and seaports has taken place.  To support efforts by individual countries, sub-regional, regional and international organizations, ministerial conferences and heads of state summits adopted decisions and resolutions with the view to accelerating the development of the transport system.
  • Africa Capital Markets Profile

    2012/08/09 更多    
  • Actions Africa must take

    2012/08/09 更多    
  • Africa Energy Situation

    2012/08/09 更多