Monday, January 28, 2008

West Africa: Home to the world's most expensive and inefficient road system

“It costs more to move goods across West African countries by road than any other region in the world due to the huge unofficial payments business owners have to make at the borders,” says Business Day in Nigeria.

From the Story:

WATH, a regional trade facilitator established by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), says the elimination of corruption at the borders is critical to the success of the economic integration aspirations of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The unofficial payments, WATH noted, most times cost more than what traders pay to the official sources. West Africa, the agency maintains, has the least efficient trucking in the world due to delays at numerous road check-points and border posts as a result of bribe-taking by uniformed officers such as the police, customs and immigration officials as well as gendarmes.

“West Africa has the most expensive, least efficient road transport in the world. Reasons include the high costs of inputs and taxation, low capacity use, overloaded vehicles running on degraded roads, and a surfeit of old, dilapidated trucks operating when they should be retired from the fleet.

“Another source of high costs is road barriers, set up mostly by law-enforcement agents to exact bribes from truckers. Bribery and delays also occur at border crossings, where officials may exploit the need to redo paperwork for cargo as part of the transition from one country to the next”

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