The African Roads Maintenance Funds Association is calling for new revenue collection strategies amidst threats to global fuel supply and the emergence of electric cars.
The outgoing president of the association, Ali Ipinge, says Africa is not behind with the concept of electric cars.
Ali Ipinge, who is also the CEO of Namibia's Road Fund Administration, made the remarks when he handed over the association's presidency to the incoming president from Cameroon, Moussa Essaie.
"We are seeing the introduction of hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles on our roads. While they are good for road users, they don't have to spend a lot on fuel and other maintenance costs on those vehicles, but it is going to cause massive disruptions to the revenue for our road funds through the fuel levy. We need to look at how we can then look at alternative revenue streams to fill that gap and sustain our road funds and, by extension, sustain our road infrastructure."
Ipinge stressed that Africa is vulnerable to climate change, and this is the reason why member states need to construct high-standard roads that are climate resilient.
"We need to look at alternative ways of how we design our roads and how we manage our roads and have a road infrastructure with climate change adaptability in mind, so that our infrastructure can withstand these challenges we are seeing in terms of climate change."
Also speaking at the event, the Finance and Public Enterprises Deputy Minister, Maureen Hinda-Mbuende, emphasised the need for roads in Africa to be responsive to the fourth industrial revolution.
"I am sure that within the adopted strategic plan is a consideration for technological innovation that should further enhance road mobility, in particular in cities. Artificial intelligence is integrated into the cities of developed countries, and modern vehicles are already fitted with software applications that interact with the road. These features contribute to road safety improvements, and as road funders and road designers, we should improve our efforts to meet these needs."
Established in 2003, the association has adopted a new strategy for 2023–2025.
The new president, Moussa Essaie, promised to implement the new plan, which includes the initiation of research to find the best possible solutions to road maintenance financing in Africa.
Essaie, who delivered his speech in French, added that he will work towards the establishment of the association's headquarters and advocate for recognition in Africa and beyond.