Today, economic, social and environmental negative impact of Africa’s rapid motorisation on the continents cities, their urban population and economies is becoming one of the leading topics on the agenda of African municipal decision makers and a crucial issue for Africa’s productivity and future economic and social development in general.
On the one side, Africa’s urbanisation rate is the highest worldwide. The transport sector is the fastest growing source of green house gas emissions. Trips vital to both the urban economy and the individual household are becoming more and more expensive and time consuming.
On the other side: Looking at the typical mobility of Africans in their respective City, everybody will also agree that most African cities are “Walking Cities”. Though it it obvious that sufficient transport facilities and safe traffic conditions are essential for economic and social development, in most regions of Sub Saharan Africa non-motorised means of transport like the bicycle are ignored by national governments, focussing on the motorisation of the upper-income groups and interpreting the car-ownership as the symbol of progress and power.
Simultaneously they give the impression that the bicycle is oldfashioned and stands for poverty and remotelessness. The International Trade Centre (UNCTAD/GATT) estimated, that only 3-5% of the inhabitants of Africa own a bicycle.
One can conclude from both sides, that there is high need and not much time left for African cities to develop cleaner urban transportation systems with lower rates of motor vehicle use, more efficient public transport and high rates of bicycling, the most appropriate and cost-effective transport solution for urban Africa.