Efficient transport is a vital component of economic development, globally and nationally. Transport availability affects global development patterns and can be a boost or a barrier to economic growth within individual nations.

In many developing countries, roads and highways are the dominant mode of transport. Road-based transport typically accounts for more than 80% of the distance  by individuals and more than 50% of the distance  by goods. Consequently, roads and highways form a crucial backbone to any economy by seamlessly linking up people and goods to their respective markets, which in turn improves economic efficiency and reduces poverty. . 

However, the condition of these assets is too often sub-standard and not fit-for-purpose due to a lack of routine and heavy maintenance programs which in turn significantly reduces the service quality of the highway and in some cases makes key routes unpassable, unsafe and prone to weather-related damage (e.g. flooding). 

Despite the importance of a viable road network, the World Bank estimates that roughly 1 billion people in developing countries still lack access to basic all-weather roads. This lack of access is hampering both economic and social development by:

Reducing access to employment

​•Reducing access to key public services such as health and education

Preventing businesses from accessing markets for their goods and reducing the efficiency of the supply chain of their businesses

This lack of access can be attributed to a number of factors, including:

A failure of governments to provide adequate and stable budget flows for the construction and suitable maintenance of highways

​•A failure to account for the ‘whole-life’ operating and maintenance costs of new highways in the procurement, design, and construction stage

A lack of routine management and planning to highways maintenance activities

Limited government capacity or resources to manage and enforce the contractual requirements and service levels of highway service providers

In Africa, for example, two-thirds of rural populations do not have reliable access to all-weather roads. A reliable road network is essential for economic development, as it allows countries to integrate into regional and global markets, can lower production and transaction costs, and stimulates capital investment in a region.

Based on these challenges for developing countries, sustainable solutions are needed, as well as a more effective dissemination of existing knowledge and good practices from other organizations. These countries also lack the efficient professional capacity to deliver improved service levels. Global Aid Direct addresses these capacity gaps and help developing countries and their communities build and maintain their transportation networks.

Being responsible for domestic activities and contributing to agricultural tasks, it is women who bear the greater part of the transport burden. The World Bank notes that throughout developing countries, women contribute at least 65 percent of the household time spent on travel and transport, and more than 65 percent of the effort. 

Accordingly, the average adult female spends 1.0 - 2.7 hours per day on transport (the higher figure representing 23 percent of active time), the effort being equivalent to carrying a load of 20kg over a distance of 1.4 - 5.3 km every day. Given their other demanding responsibilities, the burden of these essential transport tasks imposes a particular constraint on the allocation of the female household labor resource to other more productive or socially beneficial activities.
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Access to Basic All-weather Road Improves Economic and Social Development 
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