Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!
First of all I would like to congratulate you on the initiative you have taken for the organization
of this Congress by bringing together specialists and actors involved in the construction sphere
to discuss about road infrastructure which is one of the most important issues contributing to
the development of the country.
The Albanian Development Fund, which I represent here today, is one of the first institutions
operating in the sphere of regional and local development since 1993.
Over these years, through the implementation of primary infrastructure projects such as roads,
water supply and sewer systems, school buildings etc, ADF has contributed in a constant and
progressive way to the improvement of living conditions for the local communities and
improvement of governance at local level as well.
The main Program which is currently being implemented by the Albanian Development Fund is
the Improvement of Secondary and Local Roads, otherwise known as the Rural Roads Program.
Albania has a rural road network of about 10,000 km which is under the administration of first
and second level Local Government Units. Prior to Program initiation, there wasn’t any
appropriate inventory concerning the location, technical condition and administration
responsibility for rural road network. According to a World Bank survey on secondary and local
road network in Albania, over 70% of this road network was in poor or very poor condition
(highlighting that in spite of classifying the majority of roads as being in “very poor” condition,
they were impassable for the most part of the year.) Investments in these roads were almost nonexistent, fragmentary, uncoordinated and with entirely obsolete standards to meet the ever-increasing
demand for transport. Even ADF financed with its own funds, paving gravel roads with an average length
of 2 km, to cope with the difficult situation. Bearing in mind that almost half of the population lives in
rural areas, it is evident the negative impact this road network has had on the pace of economic
development , indicators of social services such as health care and education or the tangible feelings of
isolation and abandonment.
Given this complex situation where national strategies, government’s program and assistance strategies
of major international financial institutions had to be coordinated in a large-scale intervention, I would
mention two key points which consisted the turning point for rural road network and outlined the
continued success of the Program:
Firstly, the very clear and courageous vision of the Albania Government for a developed
infrastructure and the great confidence in the impact of road infrastructure on transforming
rural areas.
Secondly , the professionalism and commitment of the staff of Albanian institutions and
international financial institutions, and especially that of the Albanian Development Fund in
establishing a Program of such size as the Secondary and Local Roads
The Program started its implementation in 2008 based on two main pillars:
1. Establishment of a functional inventoried system for road network and prioritization of
2. Large-scale rehabilitation of secondary road network, including about 1500 km and
stabilization of the operation and maintenance of this road network.
Now, four years after the start of this Program, there has been established an inventory of
complete data for about 3800 km of rural road network; there has been raised a fund of 450
million USD from 8 (eight) international financial institutions. The establishment of project
infrastructure which was firstly supported by the World Bank, to be followed by EU grants,
paved the way for the commitment and cooperation of other financial institutions such as
EBRD, EIB, CEB, IDB, KfW and OFID making this Program one of the biggest size Programs not
only in Albania but in the Region as well.
By combining good planning with the preparation of standards in designing projects,
management and supervision of contracts, ADF has upgraded about 1000 km of road network
with optimal traffic flows. Meanwhile technical documentation has been prepared for the
construction of 500 km of road sections. The program has contributed to capacity building of
project designers, supervisors, contractors (who responded to this challenge) LGUs staff and
ADF staff as well.
Combined with the construction of main national road axes and with other budget investment
programs in rural road network, the road sections which have been upgraded in the framework
of SLRP have released potentials of development which until recently were held hostage by
deteriorated infrastructure, facilitating the access to main rural road axes, regional markets,
administration, health care and education centers.
A good part of the reconstructed roads (secondary) has passed under the inventory of the
National Road Authority which will be in charge of their maintenance. The same procedure will
apply to the other road sections which are going to be upgraded. Concerning road
maintenance, a large-scale training program has been undertaken with the Local Government
Units with the aim of improving the quality of maintenance service and raising awareness on
the importance of road maintenance.
Of course, this has been and still is a process which has asked for the intensive work of all
involved parties. However we have tried to find sufficient time for reflection on findings and
knowledge updates on the most recent studies in the sphere of road construction, road safety,
new technologies for reducing costs and improving the quality of roads. Considering this reason
as well, the organization of this Congress is in due time. We are very interested in the
discussions which are going to be held during these two days and we have enthusiastically
supported the organization of this event. We will try through a more detailed presentation of
our experience to contribute to the common goal of improving road standard nationwide.
Thanking once again the organizers of this Congress, I wish you good continuation!