KADUNA STATE, January 5, 2016 – During the rainy season, the roads in rural Tami Village flooded so regularly that primary school students often missed too many classes to move on to secondary school.
But thanks to a World Bank-supported road access project, new schools are springing up in communities and student enrollment and attendance have increased, especially among girls.
“In a class of 20 pupils in my primary school, I was the only one who moved to Junior Secondary School because pupils found it hard using bicycles during rainy seasons,” said student Ghali Rayan. “But now that the roads are good, many pupils have moved to secondary schools.”
The Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP), jointly funded by the Kaduna State Government, helped to improve road access in Tami Village and other rural communities. The $60 million project supports the state’s National Policy on Rural Travel and Transport, which identifies rural mobility as a significant part of the country’s poverty eradication program.
Phase One of RAMP aims to not only improve road access for rural communities throughout Kaduna State, but to also strengthen and improve management of road networks. In addition, RAMP is strengthening public institutions that are directly responsible for the management of the roads, including providing support in the development of a strategy that would live far beyond the project. The state is also pioneering the Output Performance based Road Contract, a strategic model aimed at increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of road asset management and community-based maintenance.
“Kaduna State Government has taken the bold step to innovate by trying new Output and Performance-based Road Contract concept to improve the management of road network effectively and efficiently,” said Olatunji Ahmed, task team leader for RAMP. “The institutional reform in the state will no doubt be the first of its kind in Nigeria fully implemented.”
Since the project began in 2008, it has led to the construction, upgrade, rehabilitation and maintenance of more than 464 kilometers of rural roads and 150 new river crossings throughout the state. The road networks, culverts or crossings have linked communities that were previously separated by river crossings. Other notable benefits of RAMP include digitization and production of a road network map, showing location of all roads in Kaduna state.
"The joy of the benefiting communities, when you interact with them, is immeasurable,” said Musa Tete, RAMP coordinator in Kaduna State.
Better access roads has also led to an increase in the amount of agricultural produce transported on the roads and crossings. Since 2008, 4.6 million tons has been transported, up from 3.5 million tons before the road enhancements.
“Conveying farm produce to markets used to be almost impossible,” said Lawal Zubairu, of Sabon Gari, in Zaria. “Now vehicles come to village to load food crops to the market.”
Improved road access has also reduced the cost of transportation. Commuters now pay 193 Nigerian Naira ($0.82) on average, vs. the previous cost of 232 Naira ($1.00). The population has also grown along the project corridors, increasing from 1 million up to 1.49 million and still growing.
The new roads have also catalysed the growth of new small and medium businesses along the roads, such as sawmills, poultry farms, feed processing plants, fish farms and new markets.