Angola: National Reconstruction Office wants to speed up road network renewal

17 December 2007

Luanda, Angola, 17 Dec – Angola’s National Reconstruction Office (GRN) wants to speed up the renewal of the country’s road network and is also preparing to boost the inspection capacities of public bodies, as a way of ensuring the quality of its projects.

The news was reported in Lisbon by the Africa Monitor newsletter, which said that, reconstruction of Angola’s roads, according to the Presidential office, had now moved up to the category of “principal priority” in the GRN’s action plans.

This year, the activities of the Angolan National Roads Institute (INEA) and the GRN outline the renewal of 7,350 kilometers of road all over the country, which has a network of over 70,000 kilometers, one of the largest in Africa.

The GRN is in charge of the rebuilding of 2,350 kilometers of road in2008, as well as urban road works in localities served by those roads.

According to Africa Monitor, the Presidential office has increasingly called on the GRN for the need to speed up the reconstruction work on the roads in order to improve the transport of people and goods all over the country.

The presidential office has also shown concern about ensuring the quality of the work and that they take an acceptable amount of time.

The poor state of repair of part of Angola’s road network has recently been discussed in the local media, particularly the state of some roads in areas of the capital, Luanda, which become impossible to use in the rainy season.

Also according to the newsletter, the GRN has instructions to seek support from Portuguese entities, with which it has already been in contact.

These discussions are due to begin again during the next official visit to Portugal by Angola’s President, José Eduardo dos Santos.

The Angolan authorities are particularly interested in setting up cooperation with Portugal’s Military Engineering in order to boost the skills of its Angolan counterpart in the area of supervising building work.

Portugal’s Military Engineering branch was, during the colonial period, responsible for construction and maintenance of part of Angola’s road network and the former colony is now interested in transferring that knowledge and experience to itself.

Angola also wants to secure the support of the Portuguese Civil Engineering Laboratory in order to re-lunch the Angola Engineering Laboratory, a body which is responsible for inspecting public works and drawing up project descriptions.

The INEA, which is responsible for the Program of Rehabilitation of Road Infrastructure, has complained of the difficulty in accessing the locations of the work and acquiring materials, as well as a lack of local qualified labor.

Mines and other explosives are also serious constraints to carrying out the program, as is heavy rainfall all over the country.

The Angolan government of plans to invest US$3 billion over the next three years on rebuilding roads and bridges, but has noted that much more funding will be needed to recover the country’s entire network of 73,000 kilometers of roads.

The US$3 billion will be used to rebuild 8,000 kilometers of road by 2009.

Although the government launched the program to rebuild the roads of the capital, investments had already been planned as Luanda was facing great population congestion, considering that it had been prepared for a population of 500,000 and now houses some 6 million.

The Government is focusing on linking the capital with other provincial capitals, as well as connecting these with some municipalities that are considered important or strategic. (macauhub)