The quality of Belgium’s roads puts a brake on its economy, accoring to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, newspapers from the Sudpresse group reported on Wednesday. Belgium ranks 46th with regard to the quality of its roads out of 137 countries surveyed in the report, published in September 2017. The country’s overall rank is 20th, . three places down from its ranking in the preceding report.
Belgium scored 4.5 out of 7 for the quality of its roads, way below the top three countries – the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Switzerland. It also scored less than Chile, Namibia, Ecuador and Rwanda, whereas its neighbours are in the top 20.
According to Sudpresse, this ranking comes as a surprise to organizations such as Touring and the Vias Institute.
“The investment currently being made in roads, railways and waterways is well done and is increasingly greater,” noted Dany Smagghe, spokesman for Touring, which specializes in smooth road travel. “Many studies have proved that thanks to the budgets allocated in recent years, the quality of our roads has improved.”
For Benoît Godart, spokesman for Vias, which focuses heavily on road safety and mobility, the WEF assessment should be relativized. “The quality of the roads is not a major cause of insecurity, it’s above all a source of discomfort for motorists,” Godart said.
Wallonia’s Minister of Mobility, Carlo Di Antonio, recalled that “unprecedented” resources have been invested in the transport network in the south of the country. He has also proposed the allocation of an extra 350 million euros per year for the renovation of the network.