African countries with longest road networks

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019 07:57 |
Modern urban highway.

A good road network aids businesses and travel, which in turn spur economic growth. However, African countries still fare badly in construction and rehabilitation of their roads despite dedicating a chunk of budgetary allocations to road development. Here are African countries with the best road networks according to the African Exponent Report 2019:

1. South Africa

South Africa (SA) has a road network of 750,000kms, the 10th longest network in the world and 18th longest paved network globally. The SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) is currently managing about 21,403 km’s, of which 84 percent are non-tolled and only 16 percent are tolled. There are more than six million more vehicles on South African roads today than they were in 1994. The traffic will continue growing - much of it on roads that are already operating at close to capacity during busy periods.

2. Kenya

Kenya has a road network of about 177,800 km out of which only 63,575 km is classified. It is estimated that about 70 per cent (44,100 km) of the classified road network is in good condition and is maintainable while the remaining 30 per cent (18,900 km) requires rehabilitation or reconstruction. The World Bank has supported the extensive roads rehabilitation project, investing $1 billion (Sh1.3 trillion) in International Development Association (IDA) financing over 13 years. Today, 162,000 kilometres of Kenya’s roads are documented, and the country is currently working on recording and updating the condition of the existing network.

3. Cote d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire invested remarkably in its transport system. Côte d’Ivoire road network spreads over 85,000km. It provides national and international traffic with neighbouring countries. Côte d’Ivoire’s spending on infrastructure was around $0.75 billion (Sh77.3 billion) in the mid-2000s, or less than five percent of gross domestic product, about half of what many neighbouring West African countries have been devoting to infrastructure.


Namibia’s road network is regarded as one of the best on the continent with construction and maintenance adhering to international standards. The country boasts more than 44,500 kilometres of road. Due to low traffic volumes the majority of roads are not tarred. The government of Namibia has spent an estimated Sh5.4 billion on new roads plus an addition Sh34 billion on expansions over the years.

5. Botswana

In 2008, Botswana’s road network covered 28,152kms. Approximately 8,000 km of roads (including highways) are administered by the National Roads Department, while the districts manage the rest of the local network. Botswana Transport and Infrastructure Statistics Report 2015 showed that bitumen and gravel comprised the majority of the roads at 33 and 35 per cent respectively.

6. Senegal

About 90 per cent of movement of people and goods in Senegal is made via roads. The roads network is estimated at about 14,500km, of which 4,500km is paved. The only operational motorway in Senegal, which is also a toll road, currently runs for 34kms between Dakar and Diamniadio. A new part of the motorway, at 16.5 km running to the Blaise Diagne International Airport, is currently under construction.

7. Rwanda

Rwanda has a total of 12,000 km of roads, of which 1,000km are paved. The transport system in Rwanda centres primarily around the road network. A large amount of investment in the transport infrastructure has been made by the government since the 1994 genocide, with aid from the EU, China, Japan and others. The remainder are dirt roads with quality varying from smooth hard surfaces with drainage to rutted, extremely uneven tracks passable only with a four-wheel drive vehicle.

8. Mauritius

There are 2,066kms of roads in Mauritius, of which 48.5 per cent are main roads, 28.7 per cent are secondary roads and 3.6 per cent are motorways. Several road projects to the tune of Sh5.8 billion are being envisaged in a bid to provide a proper road network in the South, reduce travel time, enhance road safety for road users and provide a direct link from the South to strategic places such as Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport and Port Louis via M1.

9. Morocco

Morocco has one of the best road systems on the continent. Over the past 20 years, the government has built approximately 1770kms of modern roads, connecting most major cities via toll expressways. The Moroccan Ministry of Transport aims to build an additional roads to a tune of $9.6 billion (Sh990.2 billion). To meet the growing domestic demand, the Moroccan government invested more than $15 billion (Sh1.5 trillion) from 2010 to 2015 in upgrading its basic infrastructure.

10. Cape Verde

The total length of the national road network in Cape Verde is 1,113 km while municipal roads take up 537 km. Of the national roads, 36 percent is made of asphalt. The majority of Cape Verdean roads are paved with cobblestones cut from local basalt. International donors have upgraded Cape Verde’s roads to asphalt including highways between Praia and Tarrafal, Praia and Cidade Velha, Praia, Pedra Badejo, and Calheta de São Miguel on Santiago, and the dual carriageway between Santa Maria and Espargos on Sal.

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