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Auditors raise doubts about EU road aid to Africa

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Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Auditors raise doubts about EU road aid to Africa

A review of the European Development Fund (EDF) by the European Court of Auditors shows that aid-recipient countries do not do enough to ensure the sustainability of road infrastructure, in all partner countries visited by the Court, roads being affected to varying degrees by premature deterioration. Moreover, the auditors cited areas where the European Commission failed to hold beneficiary governments accountable once the highways were completed.
Consequently, the Court recommended that the Commission should better focus EDF resources and make better use of conditions attached to these programmes, of policy dialogue with the partner countries' governments and technical cooperation.
The audit focused on the technical, financial and institutional sustainability of road transport infrastructure and looked at 48 programmes financed since 1995 under the 8th, 9th and 10th EDFs in six partner countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Tanzania and Zambia where EU auditors inspected about 2400 km of EDF funded roads.
Road transport is a focal sector for EDF cooperation strategy with most Sub-Saharan African countries, with about € 7.4 billion in EDF commitments made in this region over the period from 1995 to 2011. Improper road maintenance and vehicle overloading is putting the sustainability of Sub-Saharan road network into danger.
Road transport handles more than 80% of cargo movement in sub-Saharan Africa, and good regional and national transportation links are seen as vital in the fight to reduce poverty and hunger, with 230 million people or one-quarter of Africans classified as undernourished.
Commission officials, in a response to the audit, vowed to improve oversight, Euractiv notes.

Source: European Commission, Euractiv