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» Transportation and West Africa Travis Warrington

Transportation and West Africa   1 comment

Since my days in Peace Corps I have been a big supporter to constructing and reconstructing roads as a mean for development in Africa (or anywhere, really). Roads mean access to hospitals, markets (to buy and sell goods), schools, etc. If the roads are horrid, like many in Africa, access to these important resources are limited.

Recently, Deborah Brautigam of China in Africa: The Real Story (a fascinating blog and one of the best resources of China’s role in Africa) wrote a piece called China to Build West African Coastal Highway? This so-called “Trans-African Highway” will make West African countries more accessible to each other, and more so on the coastal area from Nouakchott to Lagos (and the like). Brautigam suggest this task will not be easy, and I agree. Regarding the planning, building of roads, maintaining the roads, and differing sanctions and tariffs between different countries – this is no easy task. I know lorry drivers are used to delays and border crossings, so this issue will be nothing new.

I wanted to point out the difficulties with this highway idea going from and within Dakar and Banjul. Both these capitals already have an intense (but still shaddy) road system. Not to mention Dakar is based on a cliff above the ocean and Banjul is on one side of the huge mouth of the Gambia River. Furthermore, I want to suggest that many roads in this region of Africa are based on traditional trade routes, and this highway may alter cultural and historical tradition. By saying this, I do not deny that there are major highways and road in place currently that were put in place during colonialism.

Will this new highway system’s pros over-weigh the cons? Or, should China, and other developmental programs and donors, be focusing on reconstructing existing road systems in this region and assisting governments to create and maintain infrastructure to support their existing road systems?Rich Text AreaToolbarBold (Ctrl + B)Italic (Ctrl + I)Strikethrough (Alt + Shift + D)Unordered list (Alt + Shift + U)Ordered list (Alt + Shift + O)Blockquote (Alt + Shift + Q)Align Left (Alt + Shift + L)Align Center (Alt + Shift + C)Align Right (Alt + Shift + R)Insert/edit link (Alt + Shift + A)Unlink (Alt + Shift + S)Insert More Tag (Alt + Shift + T)Toggle spellchecker (Alt + Shift + N)▼
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Since my days in Peace Corps I have been a big supporter to constructing and reconstructing roads as a mean for development in Africa (or anywhere, really). Roads mean access to hospitals, markets (to buy and sell goods), schools, etc. If the roads are horrid, like many in Africa, access to these important resources are limited.
Recently, Deborah Brautigam of China in Africa: The Real Story (a fascinating blog and one of the best resources of China’s role in Africa) wrote a piece called China to Build West African Coastal Highway? This so-called “Trans-African Highway” will make West African countries more accessible to each other, and more so on the coastal area from Nouakchott to Lagos (and the like). Brautigam suggest this task will not be easy, and I agree. Regarding the planning, building of roads, maintaining the roads, and differing sanctions and tariffs between different countries – this is no easy task. I know lorry drivers are used to delays and border crossings, so this issue will be nothing new.
I wanted to point out the difficulties with this highway idea going from and within Dakar and Banjul. Both these capitals already have an intense (but still shaddy) road system. Not to mention Dakar is based on a cliff above the ocean and Banjul is on one side of the huge mouth of the Gambia River. Furthermore, I want to suggest that many roads in this region of Africa are based on traditional trade routes, and this highway may alter cultural and historical tradition. By saying this, I do not deny that there are major highways and road in place currently that were put in place during colonialism.
Will this new highway system’s pros over-weigh the cons? Or, should China, and other developmental programs and donors, be focusing on reconstructing existing road systems in this region and assisting governments to create and maintain infrastructure to support their existing road systems?
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One response to Transportation and West Africa

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  1. Its obvious and every one knows there are a lot of difficulties with the highway ideas in Africa.

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