Improving performance in the road sector
Title: Capacity development in the transport sector in Liberia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Finance and Development Planning
Overall term: 2008 to 2022
Liberia's transport infrastructure is severely damaged as a result of 14 years of civil war and a lack of maintenance and construction measures. The public road network is in inadequate condition and does not extend to all regions of the country.
Of 11,500 kilometres, not even 600 kilometres are asphalted, which is less than six per cent. It is estimated that over half of Liberia’s population does not have direct access to the public road network. Large areas are hardly or not at all accessible during the rainy season from the beginning of May to the end of October, which slows down economic development.
The poor road network exacerbates poverty, especially in rural areas, and has a negative impact on food security, educational opportunities and medical care. This has a knock-on effect on ensuring central human rights (the right to education, an adequate standard of living, and physical health). The poor transport infrastructure results, among other things, in a high maternal mortality rate.
The Liberian Government has begun awarding road construction contracts to the private sector. The National Road Fund has been launched. It is generated through a fuel levy in order to rehabilitate roads. The planning skills in public administration and the services provided by the Liberian construction companies are not yet sufficient. In particular, rules and laws are not enforced stringently and there is a lack of qualified workers. In addition, the basis for organising and developing the transport sector (and the road sector in particular) is weak.
The management system for protecting and creating jobs has improved.
The project provides technical assistance for implementing road maintenance using funds from the fuel levy and is helping establish the National Road Fund. Employees of the building authorities and building contractors receive training and practical support in managing building contracts.
In addition, the project is supporting the Ministry of Construction in decentralising services and in setting up a bridge maintenance system. It is advising the Liberian Government and other stakeholders on drawing awareness to road safety issues.
It is also providing advice on introducing axle load control for heavy goods vehicles (through GIZ International Services) and is helping develop the Association for Liberian Construction Contractors (ALCC) institution.
Local construction companies are receiving advice on how to become more competitive in public tendering procedures. The project team is also helping create more jobs – especially for young people – and to establish a performance-based vocational training system. Road maintenance technicians are receiving training in this context.
The partners are the Ministry of Public Works, the Ministry of Transport, the National Police, the Booker Washington Institute state vocational school and the Association for Liberian Construction Contractors. The company Integration is helping train road maintenance technicians.
- The results to date include the adoption of the National Transport Master Plan (2012), the Axle Load Control Law (2015) and the establishment of the National Road Fund. Working together with the Ministry of Transport, the project has drawn up comprehensive reform documents and strategies to develop it into the leading political institution for the transport sector.
- Since 2017, several high-profile road safety initiatives have been implemented, including the Safe Streets Festival in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport, the European Union and the private sector. There have also been public forums, journalist workshops and a comedy competition.
- Pilot measures have so far created 325 working years of sustainable employment (as defined by the International Labour Organization) in Liberian road construction.
- The project has developed a demand-based training programme for road builders that is recognised by the Ministry of Education. Ten trainers were trained to run the courses in road construction and road maintenance. 50 younger people are completing a one-year training course as road construction technicians.
- The advisory services provided under the project have helped improve planning skills and prioritising in road maintenance.
- Human resources services have been improved not only within the responsible ministries, but also in small and medium-sized enterprises. These include training in business planning, calculating offers, managing construction sites and technical training for local experts and managers. These measures are helping ensure that the Liberian private sector has better training on public procurement procedures.
- The National Police is raising public awareness of road safety, risk factors and the consequences of not following traffic rules. Training courses are being run for truck drivers and motorcyclists, and public events and campaigns are taking place.