Key Statistics (Government of Haiti, 2004)
10 percent of roads are in good condition.1
80 percent of the road network is in bad or very bad condition.2
Highways make up 20 percent of Haiti’s road network.3
The lack of decent road infrastructure is a major challenge for Haiti. An adequate road network is essential for the revitalization of the economy, in particular the agriculture sector, and the over-all development of the country. The government estimated in 2004 that 10 percent of the roads in Haiti were in good condition4
, with 80 percent of the national road network in poor or very poor condition. National highways, 20 percent of the road network, are particularly important as they link the main commercial centers. Major efforts were made since then and large parts of primary roads have been built in the North-East, Centre and West Departments, while preparatory work for a major road between the South and Grande-Anse Departments has started. Additional road construction/renovation in the South-East, Artibonite and West Departments are also planned.
I. Strategy & Priorities
The government has the lead in the coordination through the “Table Sectorielle Infrastructures” (Working Group for Infrastructure/Transport), which has been convened every 2-3 months for the past year. An Agence Francaise de Développement (AFD)-funded consultant has developed a strategy for the institutional strengthening of the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communications (MTPTC) and in 2007 the European Union funded an update of the National Transport Plan for Haiti, which lays the ground-work for this sector’s strategy. The MTPTC has validated the institutional strengthening as well as the sector strategy, which now remains to be fully integrated into the Ministry’s activities. In the absence of a comprehensive strategy, a multitude of “priority lists” has been put together for the sector over the past two years, which can be summarized as follows.
(i) Government Priorities:
Construction of primary and secondary roads connecting urban centers
Rehabilitation of the international airport of Port-au-Prince and the ports
Maintenance of existing infrastructure (roads, airport and ports)
Institutional reinforcement of the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communications (MTPTC)
(ii) International Community Priorities:
Implementation of a “Road Maintenance Strategy” by the MTPTC in order to maintain roads more regularly and effectively
Increased budget for the Road Maintenance Fund (Fonds d’Entretien Routier - FER) so that adequate resources are available for road maintenance
Development and application of improved procurement procedures by the MTPTC to enhance transparency in the handling of offers, international contracts, etc.
Institutional strengthening of the MTPTC to improve delivery of projects.
Lack of qualified human resources:
It is difficult for the MTPTC to recruit a sufficient number of qualified staff to meet its demands, particularly in the transport sector. Civil engineers especially are in short supply.
Sustainability of roads:
Donor funding can only finance road rehabilitation and construction, however, road maintenance must be ensured by the Government. Over the last 20 years, most of the roads that were constructed soon needed repair and much of the initial investment was lost. As noted above, a Road Maintenance Fund (FER) has been put in place but is chronically underfunded. The Government has been pressed to levy fuel taxes at the appropriate level to ensure adequate funding for the FER, but this has not yet been put in place.
Lack of funding:
Road building and maintenance is one of the most expensive types of development initiatives possible. In Haiti, which is subject to hurricanes and torrential rainfalls, construction costs can exceed US$1million per kilometer of primary road. Considering that nearly the entire road network, from primary to tertiary roads, requires rehabilitation and construction, significant resources will be required for the coming years. Furthermore, both the FER and the National Centre for Equipment (Centre National de l’Equipement), which deal with use of heavy machinery in road construction and maintenance, are suffering from severe budgetary constraints.
- Source (PDF), Tableau 1: Conditions du réseau routier, p. 14
- Same as above
- Same as above, p. 13
- Same as above, Tableau 1: Conditions du réseau routier, p. 14