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African road managers gear up for indaba

Dr Mwanaumo addressing ARMFA executive committee members during a meeting held in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls Town recently.

When African fund managers met in the Zimbabwean resort town of Victoria Falls recently, it was not business as usual. For the executive members of the African Road Maintenance Funds Association, it was a meeting to keep each other updated with road issues on the continent, especially that they are the engine for development and the fight against poverty. This time around, the executive members’ mission was to keep track of the association’s annual general assembly to be held this month in the Zimbabwean resort town. Our staffer BENEDICT TEMBO reports.
AFRICAN Road Maintenance Funds Association (ARMFA) president Anthony Mwanaumo is pleased with the preparations by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) to host the 13th ARMFA annual general assembly that will take place in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls Town from February 22 to 28 this year.
As far as Dr Mwanaumo is concerned, the ZINARA has met the benchmarks for the successful staging of next month’s general assembly.
Speaking in Victoria Falls Town during the official opening of the ARMFA executive committee meeting convened to prepare for the association’s annual general assembly, Dr Mwanaumo expressed satisfaction with the logistical arrangements put in place by Zimbabwe. The arrangements are for providing a refined platform of sharing experiences, information and good practices in the mobilisation and judicious application of road funds for member countries at the forthcoming general assembly.
In his opening address, Dr Mwanaumo called on ARMFA executive committee members not to lose sight of the immensity of their contribution and responsibility to ARMFA, a non-profit-making and non-political grouping of 34-member road funds in Africa, headed by Zambia through the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA).
Dr Mwanaumo, who is also NRFA chief executive officer, highlighted the need for all executive committee members to shoulder a mutual responsibility of attaining sustainable road funds, which would feed into a sustainable road network for the economic development of Africa.
He reiterated that ARMFA was founded on the Libreville Charter to develop a network for the exchange of experiences and information on the practices of financing road maintenance in Africa and the operation of the funds themselves.
The ARMFA leader said the association was also created to encourage the promotion and strengthening of ties between road maintenance funds in Africa, work for the strengthening of capacities of existing structures and promote the sound management of road maintenance funds.
ARMFA was created to further promote an efficient public-private partnership to provide the best conditions for the mobilisation of resources for road maintenance and ensure sustainability and harmonious development of road maintenance funds.
Zimbabwe’s permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development Munesuishe Munodawafa paid glowing tribute to Dr Mwanaumo’s exemplary leadership and urged his continental body to devise open and transparent methods of disbursing the road funds.
“As you pursue means of mobilising finances, you should give adequate attention to defining ways of ensuring total accountability for any funds raised for road maintenance and development,” Mr Munodawafa said.
Mr Munodawafa, who was the guest of honour at the executive committee members’ meeting, challenged ARMFA member countries to communicate their correct financial status to avoid unnecessary speculation and negative reportage.
“This should also include disclosing the cost of road maintenance and construction so that citizens may have some appreciation of the pace at which the various projects funded by yourselves are moving,” he said.
And Victoria Falls Town mayor Sifiso Mpofu welcomed ARMFA executive committee members to Zimbabwe’s tourist capital and gave his assurance of a smooth and enjoyable 13th ARMFA annual general assembly.
Mr Mpofu stated that the venue for the 13th ARMFA annual general assembly is home to the Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, shared between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“It is a God-given natural heritage, unique from any experienced anywhere else in the world, and one which some may never visualise even in their dreams,” he said.
And in a vote of thanks, director and chief executive officer of the Ghanaian Road Fund Franklin Awuku-Agbanator hailed Mr Munodawafwa for gracing the occasion.
Mr Agbanator commended ZINARA for the warm reception accorded to all the delegates and thanked Dr Mwanaumo for consultatively leading the ARMFA executive to the successful planning for next month’s ARMFA annual general assembly.
The ARMFA is a professional association of Road Maintenance Funds (or similar institutions) represented by their executive officials.

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