Despite limited and declining resources since the 1980’s (financial, human and capital) there have been many important research projects funded by programmes such as the Africa Community Access Programme (AFCAP), other donor agencies and national budgets that have been undertaken to advance the Africa-specific knowledge-base for the provision of road infrastructure and the associated transport services, especially in rural areas. The problem is that the valuable knowledge generated from the various projects is fragmented and uncoordinated; and resides in different organisations (including donor agencies) in different countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.
This paper highlights the economic benefits that can accrue from a holistic approach to knowledge generation, transfer and implementation of research projects. A framework is also proposed that formalises the approach to institutionalising research management and knowledge transfer activities at a national level. In addition, a coordinated approach is presented to harness the vast amount of fragmented information that has been generated throughout the sub-Saharan African region for better use and implementation. In this regard, it is recommended that a structure of national research centres, which would liaise with regional coordinating hubs for more advanced research projects requiring specialist equipment, should be established. The African Road Maintenance Fund Association (ARMFA) is identified as a possible regional representative organisation to oversee the coordination at regional level.
Sampson, L.R. Institutionalising Rural Transport Knowledge and Research Capacity in sub-Saharan Africa. (2013) 23 pp.