The 22nd World Road Congress kicks off at Durban’s International Convention Centre on Sunday. It will be the first time the event is staged in Sub-Saharan Africa and more than 2 000 delegates are expected to attend the event.

The 22nd World Road Congress kicks off at Durban’s International Convention Centre on Sunday. It will be the first time the event is staged in Sub-Saharan Africa and more than 2 000 delegates are expected to attend the event.


Themed “Connecting the World”, the congress will be hosted by Minister of Transport Dullah Omar and organised by the SA National Roads Agency (NRA). It will be a summit for international members of PIARC (Paris-based Permanent International Association for Road Congresses), which includes over 100 governments from 129 countries, two-thirds of which are developing countries and countries in transition.


Representatives of international financial institutions, toll concessionaires, material and equipment suppliers, vehicle manufacturers, freighting companies and the civil engineering industry were also expected to attend.


“We are honoured and excited to be part of the Congress,” said NRA chief executive Nazir Alli. “We see the Congress and the involvement of PIARC as recognition for closer co-operation between developed and developing countries.”


The main aim of the Congress is international co-operation and technology transfer on road and transportation. Discussions will centre on infrastructure development, sustainability, technology, environment and safety.


Omar this week said that transport was a vital component in a transforming South Africa: “We have a 20-year vision for transport in South Africa and the reform of the transport sector is essential for the overall growth and development of our country and its people.”


The role of road infrastructure in sustainable development, described by President Thabo Mbeki as a driving force in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), will be a key focus of the Congress.


Delegates will also have an opportunity to visit road projects in KwaZulu-Natal, including the N3 national road linking Durban to Gauteng and the N2 between Durban/Cape Town and Swaziland, organisers said. In addition, the Richards Bay port, community access road programme, Durban port upgrade will also be visited.