The year is 2018. Sitting in her office in the southwest of Madagascar, Razay Zanabaindrano recounts a tragic incident that resulted from poor roads in her hometown.
Zanabaindrano is a midwife and pharmacist in Toliara — formerly Tulear — the coastal capital of southwest Madagascar and one of the most prominent trading hubs in the country. “There was once a sick man and we used a zebu cart to take him to a car…We could not even reach where the car was waiting and he died,” she explained.
In 2013, the African Development Fund invested some $70 million to finance road and bridge construction projects in the region. Today, the rehabilitated roads have improved access to services and made travel safer. Tourism and trade are also thriving. Through the project, some 107 kilometers of new roads and bridges have been built in the 195 km stretch between Toliara and Analamisampy — including the Befandriana bridge and reconstruction of the Pomay bridge — a network that connects the southwestern parts of the country.
“Since the roads have been built, lives have been saved because we have easy access to hospitals,” Zanabaindrano said.
The extension of the existing roads has also opened the country to economic opportunities, by improving access to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the Southern African Development Community, the Southern African Development Community, and the Indian Ocean Commission.