The North-South Corridor (NSC) Programme is a Pilot Aid for Trade Programme that has enabled the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) of COMESA, EAC and SADC, their Member States and the International Community to implement an economic corridor-based approach to reducing costs of cross-border trade in Sub-Saharan Africa. It seeks to enable producers and traders to be more competitive, thereby creating higher levels of economic growth, employment creation and reduce poverty.
The project will also focus on taking the necessary steps to ensure that adequate power supply is made available to support the growing demand from industrial, commercial and domestic consumers. The road sector component of the North-South Corridor programme aims to reduce the costs of doing business in the Eastern and Southern Africa region by addressing, as a comprehensive programme, road infrastructure along the Corridor.
The North-South Corridor Conference, held in April 2009 was an important milestone to highlight infrastructure requirements along the Corridor. Since April 2009. the total network of 8,599km of NSC roads, across 7 countries have either been upgraded, are in design or are at planning stages. A progress review of road network conditions was carried out by TradeMark Southern Africa during 2009/10. This review found that: 2,403 km of roads are in good condition and require nothing more than routine maintenance; 5156 km of roads will be in good condition for the next 2 – 5 years, but will require upgrading or rehabilitation design to start in the short to medium term; and 1041 km of roads require immediate rehabilitation or upgrading. The main objectives of the road sector component of the North-South Corridor programme has been to assess the condition of the road surface that makes up the NSC; to determine the frequency and cost of maintenance; to put this maintenance and rehabilitation schedule into an order of priority; to plot the roads and the status of the roads onto a GIS map so that real-time data was available for stakeholders to use; to assist national road agencies to prepare the necessary tender documents; and to then also assist to secure financing for the sequenced and prioritised North South Corridor road rehabilitation programme. Challenges faced include procurement procedures; information flows and the changing responsibilities in financing the road maintenance. Some of the main results of the programme include securing financing for the design of the Serenje-Nakonde road from the European Development Fund; establishment of the Tripartite Trust Account and the successful use of this to leverage loans to finance the rehabilitation of the region’s road infrastructure; the establishment of a database of roads that is also presented as a GIS map; the preparation of a list of priority projects and the securing of finances to implement some of these projects; the establishment of the Project Preparation and Implementation Unit; and the commencement of the process of harmonising the regional infrastructure master plans.