The road transport in Madagascar has been facing numerous challenges, especially after the 2009-2013 political crises. According to the World Bank, the country’s GDP is on a positive trajectory, having fallen by about 3% during the conflicts.
However, with the country being an island and comprising of 22 regions, most of the roads are impassable. And when you get to the capital, Antananarivo, the traffic congestion is a nightmare. In fact, Antananarivo ranks top among the cities with the worst traffic globally. Below are factors making Madagascar lag in matters road transport
Poor quality road transport services
Better transport connectivity simulates other development aspects of a country such as agriculture and business. On the other hand, poor quality road transport services are significant contributors to accidents.
Although Madagascar has a railway connection, its total length is 637 km. Nonetheless, only about half of the rail is operational and connects fewer parts between Antananarivo and Toamasina to the East Coast. As a result, the service benefits about 20% of the city dwellers against a total population of cross to 24 million people. This means the remaining locals amounting to about 17 million people have to scramble for buses or use cabs.
Lack of inter-region road transport network
The country of Madagascar has five geographical areas. Either escapements or highlands characterize most of these locations. Similarly, loads of roads in rural areas are unpaved and unofficial. This implies that the 17 million dwellers in rural areas cannot access a reliable highway or transport system.
Still, of the official routes, two-thirds of the secondary and tertiary roads are in poor condition. Consequently, the country’s road connectivity density stands at about 5.4 km per 100 km2. This figure is considerably low if you compare with what is in a country like Kenya (28.4 km per 100 km2).
Madagascar is hugely venerable to climate change. Every year, the country experiences life-threatening floods and cyclones. These catastrophes significantly raise the levels of damage on the already impassable roads. Worst of it, the running waters often cut off some regions. This, in turn, implies that relief supply and medical aid cannot reach the affected areas in time. In and of the effects, loads of citizens end up suffering.
Lack of funds for maintenance
The overall GDP growth of Madagascar is wanting. This mainly results from the poverty levels of locals and government negligence. As a result, most roads in the country are under-designed, which increases their chances of being washed away during the rainy season.
Surprisingly, the World Bank indicates that Madagascar spends roughly $19 million per year in road rehabilitation and construction. This amount is by far not leveraging the economy considering the quality of roads and population density in the country. As it is, the poor state of the highways significantly contributes to the high number of accidents recorded each year.
Poor axle load control
There are no official statistics and proper road maintenance and safety measures in Madagascar. Today, much of the country’s cargos are transported by road. So more so, trucks transporting goods to different locations across the country often carry excess loads. Notably, this continues to degrade the highways, making them unsafe and unreliable to other motorists.
Madagascar’s economy is speedily recovering, increasing by cross to 2% in 2016. Following, the number of cars on the country’s roads will undoubtedly balloon. This mandates the government to move with speed to rehabilitate and increase road connectivity in the nation. Similarly, the country’s ministry of transport also has an obligation to corroborate with relevant agencies to fast track road development. Achieving this strategy will certainly speed up economic growth and reduce poverty levels.