The Government of Malawi, in collaboration with development partners, is developing a new maintenance system for a core network of about 10,000 kilometres of higher traffic unpaved roads. It has been proposed that the maintenance system could use tractor based technologies and an area based management structure along the lines of the system developed by the District Development Fund in Zimbabwe and now also being implemented by the National Road Administration of Mozambique in some provinces.
Lessons learned from the implementation of the maintenance system in Zimbabwe and Mozambique are relevant to the development of the Malawi programme. This includes the specifications for the maintenance work, the differences between force account implementation and private contracting, unit costs, equipment specifications and maintenance, requirements for skilled workers, management arrangements etc.
The Africa Community Access Programme (AFCAP) was asked by the Malawi Roads Authority to support a study tour of a province of Mozambique where the tractor-based maintenance system is operational. As a result, a 5 day study tour of the Zambezia Province was held from Mon 14/09/09 to Fri 18/09/09. This report summarizes the main activities held during the study tour.