What is ASANRA?

The Association of Southern Africa National Road Agencies (ASANRA) is an association of national roads agencies or authorities in the SADC region.

ASANRA’s vision is “a sustainable regionally harmonized road transport system that competes internationally” This vision is coherent with the overall goal of SADC Protocol on Transport, Communications and Meteorology which seeks to ensure the development of a safe, sustainable, efficient and effective road transport system in support of social-economic growth and development and, ultimately poverty alleviation.

Its intentions in terms of strategy for attaining the vision are articulated with the mission statement which is “to support the development of a harmonized, safe, effective and efficient integrated road transport system while meeting national and regional goals and objectives” through application of best practices in the development and maintenance of the regional road network, provision of integrated road transport infrastructure, adoption of environmentally sustainable practices and optimization of benefits to the road user.” The association was founded and its operations are guided by eight critical core values of commitment, respect, innovation, teamwork, integrity, caring, accountability and leadership.

Main goal, objectives and aims

The main goal of the association is to enhance regional policy coordination and road transport systems integration with the key objectives of improving intra-regional road transport efficiency and lowering transport cost. It aims at:-

  • fostering the development, operation and maintenance of a region-wide integrated road transport system;
  • cooperating with other SADC agencies in considering matters of mutual interest in serving the regions highway needs;
  • Developing and improving methods of administration, planning, research, design, construction, maintenance and operation of infrastructure and facilities;
  • Contributing to the provision of efficient, safe and effective transportation of persons and goods in support of regional as well as national goals and objectives in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner;
  • Studying all problems connected with the region’s highway network and its impact on other modes of transportation;
  • Consulting with SADC ministers on regional transportation policy and;
  • Developing technical, administrative and operational voluntary standards and policies.

The Board

ASANRA is governed by a board of directors which meets twice in a year and has ultimate responsibility on governance of the association. Each member state is represented by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or relevant government official where a roads agency or authority was not constituted. Representatives of regional bodies established in line with the SADC protocol on Transport, Communication and Meteorology attend board meetings in an ex-official capacity. The board is chaired by an elected president.


Road transport is the most dominant mode of freight and passenger transport carrying 80 to 90 percent of goods and services in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region. It also accounts for about 20% of the regions cross border trade and is the only form of access to rural areas where the majority of the population dwell. Road transport is therefore critical to the economy of the SADC region.

Currently, the SADC road transport system comprising some 930,000km, with a proposed Regional Trunk Road Network (RTRN) of 62,674km, is the largest public sector asset. However, despite the huge investment and importance of the sub-sector to the economy of the region, it is non-integrated, non-harmonised and poses major barriers to intra-regional transport efficiency resulting in inordinately high transport costs.

In order to reduce and eventually eliminate these unacceptable barriers, an urgent need to establish a regional institutional framework and mechanisms for enhanced regional policy coordination and road transport systems integration was identified. The Association of Southern African National Roads Agencies (ASANRA) was therefore founded under a charter on 19th March 2001 at a regional conference held in Maputo, Mozambique. It was established in line with the SADC protocol on Transport, Communication and Meteorology.

Organisational Structure

The board delegates management to an Executive Committee comprising the president, vice-president and the Chief Executive Officer of the Malawi Road Authority where ASANRA secretariat is based. Currently, the President is the Director and Chief Executive Officer of Roads Development Agency (RDA), Zambia and Vice President is the Director General  of National Roads Administration (ANE), Mozambique.

ASANRA implements programmes through the following six Standing Committees:

  • Network Management and Financing;
  • Construction and Maintenance;
  • Materials and Design Standards;
  • Road Safety;
  • Research and Development and;
  • Technology Transfer and Capacity Building.

The Chairpersons of the Standing Committees are the CEOs of a member roads agency and are appointed by the President. Under the general direction of the Executive Director and the day-to-day supervision of the Programmes Officer, their main function is to develop their committee’s Work Programme in consultation with their constituents and stakeholders for the approval of the Board.


The association has two categories of membership, full membership with voting rights for road agencies/authorities and associate membership participating in an ex-officio capacity without voting rights for transport professionals and private industry representatives concerned with transport issues.

Currently, the association has ten full active members and these include Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The other members are Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mauritius and Swaziland.

Cooperate Governance

ASANRA  core values  place great emphasis on good governance, transparency and accountability. To work with cooperating partners and member states, the association must demonstrate high integrity, accountability and transparency.

The association has therefore reviewed its operations and charter, composition and structure of executive committee to ensure separation of powers and adherence to good governance practices and principles. ASANRA has drafted a constitution and legislation under a legal entity status of Trust in the host country, Malawi, is well advanced. It has developed a third Strategic and Business Plan covering the 2014 – 2019 period. To enhance financial management the association has instituted the following measures;

  • installed an accounting and financial management system to enable association produce timely reports to its members;
  • undertakes independent annual audited financial statements and;
  • adopted procurement guidelines and procedures consistent with member states and development partners requirements.

Financial Resources

ASANRA is currently funded by member subscriptions. At the current levels, the subscriptions adequately cover operating expenses and contribute towards financing of projects.

The 2009/14 Strategic and Business Plan projects that the association will secure additional funding through grants to cover at least 40% of programme costs. Such grants will fully be utilised for “soft” projects such as studies, guidelines etc and not “hard” capital projects such as road construction and rehabilitation.

ASANRA has todate collaborated with development partners on bilateral or multi-lateral basis. These include, but not necessarily limited to:

  • African Development Bank (AfDB)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ)
  • European Union (EU);
  • Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD);
  • Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA);
  • United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID);
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID);
  • Internation Road Federation (IRF) and;
  • USA Trade Hub.