A Global Competitiveness Report, showing the performance of countries in the provision of road infrastructure, has ranked Nigeria behind most African countries. Nigeria, being the largest economy and most populous country, continues to struggle with improving its transportation system to meet the wide range of needs.
Countries such as Namibia, Rwanda, Morocco and South Africa, have been able to boost the contribution of exports through their transport systems. As noted in the report, Namibia’s road infrastructure quality remains the best in Africa, as the country scored 5.2 out of 7, outperforming South Africa and Rwanda, which both scored 5.0.
Namibia has been scooping the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitive Report Index African road quality award for the past five consecutive years. It has been ranked number 23 globally, surpassing economic giants such as China, India and Italy, which were ranked at 42, 46 and 56.
Festus Okotie CEO of Bernard Hall Nigeria Limited and a transport specialist, in an article, noted that road transportation is a basic requirement for the success of any nation, regardless of its industrial capacity, population size or technological development. Part of the challenge of the Nigerian transport system is its poor design which has been a hindrance from inception.
“Road transportation is a basic requirement for the success of any nation, regardless of its industrial capacity, population size or technological development. Part of the challenge of the Nigerian transport system is its poor design which has been a hindrance from inception,” Okotie said.
Algeria, with a GDP of $167.98 billion, has its transport sector contributing 32.47 percent, while the Gambia and Rwanda with smaller economies of $2.08 billion and $11.07 billion have their transport sector contributing 37.05 percent and 32.75 percent respectively, according to World Bank. The giant of Africa’s transport sector contributed 27.95 percent to its economy in 2021, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Okotie also noted the challenges faced on road transport in Nigeria compared to other countries are undefined bus shelters, insufficient pedestrian infrastructures, lack of CCTV, unsignalled junctions, bad roads, road-side parking, high traffic demand/motorization rate, poorly planned junction geometry, insufficient public transport modes, the unavailability of alternative roads, road encroachment, lack of traffic information and absence of real-time passenger information.
“Our nation is still very far from the world’s best practices in road transportation systems, some of the major challenges affecting our road transportation systems are the need to review and upgrade the policies which is a major challenge affecting the system,” Okotie noted.
“In Nigeria, the sector has been experiencing some challenges due to deficiencies in modern digital technology usage, modern transport policies, infrastructure deficit, lack of professionalism, lack of modern communication equipment in addition to lack of modern safety and security system in driving and monitoring gaps in the system,” Okotie added.