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12 October 2010
IRF in South Africa - Live from the field

Under the theme "Preserving African Roads", the 4th edition of the IRF/SARF regional conference has opened up in Cape Town on 11th October 2010.

With more than 250 delegates from 22 countries, this year's conference marked another successful collaboration between the South African Road Federation and the IRF.

In her welcome address, Susanna Zammataro, IRF Geneva Deputy Director General, called for a greater regional coordination and for a more active involvement and engagement of local communities, better training and local ownership of initiatives.

Despite its particular challenges, Africa is no exception to the global trends and developments: financing infrastructure development, road safety and the climate change challenge remains a key issue for the continent.

Maintenance management and the need to reform road agencies and road funds and their performance were amongst some of the points raised and largely debated during the sessions. The importance of reliable data on road networks was underlined by many of the speakers. The IRF was praised for the excellent work on the yearly published World Road Statistics.

The SARF President Award was attributed this year to Mr Nazir Alli, CEO of the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) for his effort and achievement in the on-going reform of the agency.

With a well established network of members and partners throughout the continent, the IRF has historically played a key role in the development of the African road network working closely with key institutions in the continent, enhancing capacity building, road data collection, knowledge sharing and dissemination and organising a number of events in collaboration with the local stakeholders.

These ties have grown stronger with the appointment of IRF Ambassadors in Tanzania, Senegal, Nigeria, Libya and South Africa.