Road Network

Publishing Details

Map Type: 
Vector Map
Publication Date: 
September, 2011
HarvestChoice/International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Primary Contact: 
Zhe Guo


This map shows road networks for Africa compiled from a variety of sources. Transportation networks represent the economic arteries of countries and regions. In Africa it is widely acknowledged that the sparseness and general poor quality of transportation networks and infrastructure (roads, rail, navigable rivers and water bodies, and air transport) is a major obstacle to economic development. Furthermore, information on the location, type (e.g. paved 4 lane highway, seasonal 2 lane dirt-track roads), and state of maintenance of existing infrastructure is also limited and difficult to integrate in a consistent way across countries (because, for example, roads are classified according to different criteria). In recognition of this information gap, collective action approaches by the development community and the use of new “crowd sourcing” methods of data capture are underway, as well as grassroot initiatives by the development community.

HarvestChoice is compiling and harmonizing transport network data as part of its activities in generating new information on transport costs, market access and the potential attractiveness of new farming practices, technologies and livelihoods.

Apart from human settlements and roads, HarvestChoice is compiling information on other key types of infrastructure. The first relates to irrigation and the second to potential linkages to markets other than local human settlements via ports (e.g. import of fertilizer and export of bulk cash crops) and airports (e.g. export of high value horticultural products). Over time we will improve the scope and quallity of these layers as well as add further layers on processing facilities (e.g., cotton ginneries).

Data Sources & Credits

Nelson-personal communication(2008)


HarvestChoice, 2011. "Road Network ." International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC., and University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN. Available online at

Additional Attributes

Lowest Geographic Unit: Africa
Geographic Coverage: West Africa, East & Central Africa, Southern Africa
Keywords: Africa, Market Access, Roads