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National Transport Policy

The National Transport Plan that was prepared in 1997 focused on maintenance and development of transport infrastructure. Noting that infrastructure alone was not sufficient for the smooth functioning of the transport system, the Government decided to put in place a comprehensive policy framework to guide the development of the sector. This led to the preparation of the National Transport Policy 1998-2006 that limited the role of the Government Ministry in charge of the sector to policy formulation and oversight, while regulatory, operational and management functions were made the responsibility of the parastatals and other agencies in the sector. The policy objective was to ensure the application of commercial principles in the management of the sector and contribute to the national objectives of facilitating the optimal development of the economy.

The policy emphasized integration of the modes as a basis for prioritization and in determining the appropriate size and quality of infrastructure, which must be based on a long term and integrated transport infrastructure planning. In the institutional restructuring recommended in the National Transport Policy (1998-2006) document, the upgrading of the Transport Planning Unit to National Transport Agency (NTA) was recommended to function as a unit within the Ministry and staffed with high level professionals and organized in two divisions – I) Transport Regulatory Office (TRO) responsible for enforcement of the policies, legislations and rules and their update, and ii) Transport Policy Office (TPO), responsible for preparation and update of the NTP and intermodal coordination including the preparation of an overall transport master plan consistent with the Transport Policy and Strategy.

The policy objectives of the sector besides technical, financial and economic aspects addressed the issues of adequacy, efficiency, safety, reliability, sustainability, equity and environmental protection as guiding principles. So the policy objectives of the Government were focused on four themes:

However, most of the recommendations particularly those that relate to soft issues of ‘institutional mechanisms for coordinated planning and sector regulation’ were not taken forward by MOTWI that had the oversight responsibility. This has affected the efficient functioning of the transport system; particularly intermodal coordinated planning and improvement of the regulatory environment to make the market function more efficiently.

Revised National Transport Policy (Road Transport component)

The objective of the National Road Transport Policy Review Project was to develop an overall Road Transport Policy for The Gambia aimed at promoting national economic growth, alleviating poverty and addressing current identified sector challenges.

The development of the overall, integrated transport sector policies and the modal strategies was based upon a review of the current status of the transport sector and an analysis of the forecast road transport demand.

Based on a review of the current involvement of the private sector in The Gambia’s transport sector, an assessment of the potential for increased private sector participation in the transport sector was also carried out. Subsequently, along with the development of the individual transport sub-sector strategies, areas of specific consideration for private sector participation have been recommended.

The policies and strategies presented in the documented are fully consistent with the long-term objectives of the Government of The Gambia, as enunciated in the ‘Vision 2020’ document. The Road Transport Policy provides an appropriate policy framework and specific sub-sector strategic direction to achieve the objectives contained in Government macro-economic planning and development reports. Strategic Action Plans by sub-sector have been developed and requirements for detailed feasibility and other studies and technical assistance have been noted.

The Road Transport Policy Report is a policy/strategy document and provides guidelines for the future direction of the transport sector as a whole, together with individual road, road transport and urban transport modal requirements. The Road Transport Policy envisages a greater role for the private sector and a need for a detailed assessment of the sector’s institutional framework to facilitate implementation of the strategy.

Challenges for the Transport Sector

The following challenges for the transport sector have been identified and are reflected in the development of the road transport policy and modal strategies:

  • The Gambia’s Geographical Location;
  • Isolated Regions within the Country;
  • Transport and Poverty Reduction;
  •  Integration of Various Transport Modes;
  • Need for Appropriate Transport Policies and Regulations;
  • Road and Road Transport Financing;
  • Road Traffic Safety;
  • Regional Road Transport;
  • Heavy Vehicle Management (HGM);
  • Private Sector Involvement;
  •  Human Resource Development; and
  • Government’s Response to the Challenges.

In recognition of the challenges facing The Gambia in terms of its economic, social and regional development, Government’s stated intentions with respect to the issue of poverty reduction and other current issues, (as identified within ‘Vision 2020’, and the proposed vision for the transport sector, the strategy has been formulated with the aim of achieving key objectives within four primary areas, as follows:

(i) Operational and Management;

(ii) Infrastructure Development;

(iii) Institutional and Competitive Framework; and

(iv) Funding

A ‘vision’ for multi-modal transport within the context of The Gambia provides the overall framework for the strategy, as follows:

To provide safe, dependable, effective, efficient, and fully integrated transport operations and infrastructure in order to best meet the needs of freight and passenger customers. This will be achieved by improving levels of service and minimizing costs in a manner which supports Government strategies for economic and social development. All improvement measures will be both environmentally and economically sustainable. In addition, the efficiency of the transport system will be enhanced in a regional context to allow The Gambia to exploit its unique geographical position.

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