Weekend column Dichotomy between additional logistics costs & highways of the future
Africa is embarking on ambitious projects. The latest, the start of 2021 is marked by the start of the AfCFTA. One is entitled to wonder if all these programs are calibrated enough to satisfy future generations?
By Daouda MBAYE
If it is enough to set up a highway just for the prestige of having it, we will not save its widening or repair, if it is not in dense asphalt or protected throughout its length, a few years after it was put into circulation. The highways of the future, which go beyond “4 lanes”, consider from their conception, demography, changes in uses and behavior, and are based on prospects for sustainable development, taking into account future generations.
The gestation of the AfCFTA can end in a miscarriage, if from now on non-tariff measures in the form of national standards – you know, these subtle barriers which are hidden – are erected here and there.
The least that can be said is that it requires additional costs. It is obvious to say that a highway of the future oversizes a project. This is the fair price to pay to avoid, at the same time, reinvesting for almost all of the starting amounts, less than a decade after the launch of a structure, of wasting time and a number of inconveniences.
“The gestation of the AfCFTA can lead to a miscarriage, if from now on non-tariff measures are erected here and there”
As with this large single market of more than 1.2 billion consumers, if a real desire to trade in both directions is not the basis, we will have a pipe dream. Trade calls for two-way trade, mercantilism is more opportunistic and tends to erect protectionism on its doorstep.
Managing these highways, these transnational standard gauge railway lines well means taking environmental protection head-on and above all overcoming petty police corruption without compromising on safety and security. . In this chapter, the regulation of corridors, free from much hassle and both formal and informal levies, is essential. Otherwise, as with the non-tariff barriers to the single market, which will end up shrinking, costs will weigh a little more on logistics that are not commensurate with the goods transported. Additional costs in terms of delays, security… which will make our markets less competitive and therefore deserted.
Ultimately, it is about adapting the sites to better serve the populations of today and tomorrow.