The Road Fund Lesotho team, led by the Chief Executive Officer Mr. Nkekeletse Makara, joined regional counterparts for a two day Southern Africa Focal Group Meeting hosted by the National Road Fund Agency in Lusaka, Zambia.
The meeting, which was scheduled for February 17 to 18, 2020, was convened by the African Roads Maintenance Funds Association (ARMFA) through its Southern Africa arm known as ASAFG (ARMFA Southern Africa Focal Group).
In his welcome remarks, the Chairperson of ASAFG who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) in Zambia Mr. Wallace Mumba said the purpose of the meeting was to prepare for the 18th ARMFA Annual General Assembly which will be hosted by Dakar, Senegal in March 2020.
He said being the Southern African arm of ARMFA, it was important to attend the Annual General Assembly having jointly agreed on the important issues for presentation to the rest of Africa.
“We have decided to put together a presentation about Leveraging on Technology to Increase Operational Efficiencies so that we showcase our achievements in the technological front, each country is therefore expected to contribute to the presentation so that it becomes a joint effort from Southern Africa”, he reiterated.
The Board Chairperson of NRFA Ms. Christabel Michel-Banda said the roads in Southern Africa have deteriorated over time, saying that it can never be business as usual for the Road Funds, as funding for maintenance of roads is the sole purpose they exist.
She said meetings of this nature are critical as they are a platform and a network for experience and information sharing on good practices in the financing of road maintenance, adding that it was critical to meet regularly so as to ensure that all members remain on their toes to undertake this mammoth mandate.
She concluded by expressing a need to coordinate regional efforts in mobilizing funds and innovative funds collecting strategies, citing an example of the inland tolling of roads that Zambia has successfully implemented since January 2016.
In an interview with the Zambian media, the Road Fund Chief Executive Mr. Nkekeletse Makara said Lesotho and other countries in the Southern Africa Region will learn from Zambia on how best to implement inland tolling so as to collect more revenue towards sustainable maintenance of roads.
He said Zambia has been very bold to implement this initiative, which has indeed contributed much as a revenue stream, to ensure that the roads are well maintained especially in places where the tolling is implemented.
The ASAFG meeting is hosted twice a year and it rotates amongst members. The last ASAFG meeting was hosted by the Roads Fund Administration in Malawi in September 2019.
ARMFA is a non-profit making and non-political association that was founded in the year 2003 in Libreville, Gabon. The aim is to form a platform and a network for experience and information sharing on the practices of financing road maintenance in Africa. It also serves the purpose to encourage the promotion and strengthening of ties between road maintenance funds in Africa, to discuss and find opportunities on funding options and to promote and strengthen links between members of African Road Funds.