ECOWAS Improves Regional Road Information Systems To Promote Intra-Africa Trade

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Ecowas Develops Road Information Systems
Ecowas Develops Road Information Systems

ECOWAS Road Information Technical Experts have concluded a validation workshop in Accra to put in place measures in improving and digitalizing a one-stop shop source of information on road transport among member states to serve as a catalyst for economic development for the ECOWAS community.

The ECOWAS Commission believes transportation by road continues to serve as the main mode through which trading and movement of persons, services and goods in the ECOWAS Region are carried out. Thus to facilitate the wish of a Community Citizen to move freely, enjoy holidays, access services, it is necessary to ensure an interconnected and harmonized network of regional roads which are well maintained, managed and in good condition.

Speaking at a validation workshop for ECOWAS Regional Road Information System (ECRIS) in Accra, Mr. Chris Appiah, Acting Director of Transport at the ECOWAS Commission, said while measures are taken to improve all the other modes of Transport including Air, Water and Railway, it is the collective responsibility of the ECOWAS Community to provide a sustainable, efficient and safe road network to promote the economic integration and development of the ECOWAS Sub-region.

He emphasized that in order to ensure optimum management of the road network in the ECOWAS Community the following ought to be considered:

I. Identify all regional economic corridors connecting key economic centers, capital cities and open up new economic zones among others.

II. Define and set key decision-making elements

III. Automate the planning, programming, and implementation of their maintenance.
Mr. Chris Appiah emphasized that the Road Information Systems is one of the important frameworks that will provide the prerequisites of a proper evidence-based decision-making system which informs strategic interventions towards achieving an enhanced intra-community trade, free movement of goods, persons and the ultimate economic integration that citizens seek in ECOWAS.

“This System will be a reliable source of data and information on our community roads. The presence of this system will also serve as an enabler to the implementation of our Community Texts on Axle Load Control, Road Safety, Maintenance Regime, etc.” The Acting Director of Transport of the ECOWAS Commission asserted.

He said the ECOWAS Commission, under its Regional Transport Governance Project launched a study to determine the structure of the Regional Road Information System and subsequently sanctioned a study leading to a draft Report on the status of the ECOWAS Regional Corridor Network which included Road Information Systems and Databases in Member States, Definition of Specifications and requirements for the ECRIS, and the Design of the ECRIS Database and Drafting of procurement documentation such as Terms of Reference for the establishment.

Chairman of the Validation workshop of the Technical Experts of the road information systems Engr. Ebere Izunobi, who also doubles as the Assistant Director of Highways Planning of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in Nigeria, reiterated the need to have a uniform and harmonized road information among the ECOWAS member states.

“Information is power, so by the time we have all those data in database that will mean, you don’t need to go from one country to another just to get your information to do business on our roads in West Africa. You come to West Africa and at one point you get all the information you need and then decide to invest wherever you want in the sub-region which will make us more competitive at the continental and global level.”

The Chief Director of Ghana’s Ministry of Roads and Highways Ing. Dr. Abass M. Awolu, representing the Minister of Roads and Highways, Hon. Kwasi Amoako-Attah lauded ECOWAS for the initiative, emphasizing that information collected on major areas such as traffic characteristics and pavements in terms of axle loads should be harmonized.

“Traffic codes or systems may differ from country to country. How do we make sure that these information are integrated and not just that but they are also secured? So that we don’t complete a system that someone can easily break into it.”

He assured the ECOWAS Technical Experts on the Road Information System of the Government of Ghana’s support.

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