Eritrea: Improving the land transport network
When Eritrea became independent in 1991, the government inherited poor infrastructure across the country, where roads connecting different parts of the country were turned into ditches due to the protracted war. The roads were in such bad condition that the current two hour and 30 minute drive from Asmara to Massawa took over seven hours. Likewise, the vehicles on the road were very old and in need of replacement.
The past 30 years have been a time of transformation in the transportation system. New strategic roads were built and old roads were renovated and enlarged. To help alleviate the problems of transporting people and goods, the government imported more than 700 buses while around 1,400 buses were imported by the private sector. About 900 taxis were also imported to ensure efficient transport in the central region. Likewise, to help meet the challenges of other regions of the country, more than 600 twelve-seater taxis have been set up.
A total of 257 old buses carried around 6,000 people per day in 1991, but the 2,100 newly imported buses in the post-independence period carried over 62,000 people daily. Mr. Tesfaslasie Berhane, Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, said that Harat Transportation Company provides efficient service to all parts of the country, including remote areas, at a very fair price. Over 85% of the Eritrean population has easy access to public transport across the country.
The government has invested around Nakfa 970 million for importing buses. New buses imported in the past six months have started to enter service following the easing of lockdown linked to COVID-19. âThe government will import more buses to provide a sustainable solution to the challenges of the transportation system,â Tesfaslase said.
Some remote regions that did not have access to transportation are now being transformed. The construction of dirt roads has helped connect various regions of the country. According to Tesfaslase, Asmara, Massawa, Barentu, Tesenai, Dekemhare, Adi-Keyih, Keren and Aqordat now have easy access to public transport while around 85% of villages in remote areas of the country have been connected to a network. . of roads, making public transport available at a very fair price.
One of the main goals of the government in the transportation sector is to provide cost effective service. To make this a reality, it continues to make efforts in building roads and providing public transport to remote areas. Efforts have been made to enable Harat Transportation Company to provide services to Amalayt, Habero, Asmat, Awgaro and Shetreb in the Gash-Barak and Anseba regions as well as on the Tio-Aime, Idi-Afambo and Beilul routes in the southern Red Sea Region. “The long-term plan is to import vehicles specially designed to enter uneven and abandoned areas with the aim of reaching hitherto inaccessible areas,” Tesfaslase explained. . “We are planning to provide sustainable perspiration services to all of Eritrean society.”
Regarding the ongoing efforts to renovate the roads, Mr. Tesfaslase said priority has been given to roads of strategic importance. All the roads built in the post-independence period are the foundation of the transformation aspired in each sector. “Everyone should venture out of Asmara to personally witness the achievements recorded in the construction of asphalt and dirt roads across the county,” said Tesfaslase.
The freight service for solid and liquid loads has been improved. About 1,600 state-owned trucks and 1,100 private trucks were active in the transport of solid cargo while about 400 vehicles were used to transport oil and gas.
To ensure the safety of people and property, vehicles are inspected once a year. The Ministry of Transport and Communications, in collaboration with Anberbeb Share Company, provided training in the maintenance and repair of defective vehicles over 45 days to 25 women and five experts from the ministry’s headquarters. Mr. Tesfaslase applauded the critical role played by Anberbeb Share Company in educating young people.
Mr Tefaslase finally said that people must obey the traffic rules and be aware of the dire consequences that can arise due to negligence. Everyone must obey the traffic rules for the benefit of all, and severe and corrective penalties must be provided for irresponsible motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and horse-drawn carriage drivers. Loss and damage to property should be stopped through concerted efforts.