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CSDevNet Calls for Holistic and Inclusive Transport Infrastructure in Africa

World Sustainable Transport Day 2023 [photo credit: UN]
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World Sustainable Transport Day 2023 [photo credit: UN]

The Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet) calls for a holistic and inclusive transport infrastructure in Africa.

This call was made in an advocacy webinar held in commemoration of the World Sustainable Transport Day on November 26th 2023 with a theme: “Developing socially inclusive transport infrastructure for a Just Africa.”

The event brought together experts and energy advocates, fostering a collaborative exploration of valuable insights on the current challenges and potential solutions in the quest for a more green and inclusive transportation system.

Simultaneously, it underscored the pivotal role of sustainable transportation in building a just and equitable continent.

The first panelist Eugene Nforngwa, Energy Lead at Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), highlighted the significant impact of the transport sector on greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 30% of the total.

According to the United Nations fact sheet, the transport sector is responsible for approximately one quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, 57% of global oil demand and 28% of total energy consumption, sadly. 95% of the world’s transport energy still comes from fossil fuels.

Eugene also highlighted the unique opportunity Africa has to couple renewable energy with sustainable transport infrastructure, given that the continent’s transport systems are still in the early stages of development.

He stressed the importance of establishing a regional financing mechanism to fund sustainable transport initiatives, urging the African Development Bank to take a leading role in this endeavor.

Eugene Nforngwa, Energy Lead at Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA)

Then, Eugene proposed an integrated approach, advocating for simultaneous development of roads and energy grids to ensure a harmonious and efficient transition towards sustainability.

“In advocating for sustainable transport systems and climate justice in Africa, the role of partnerships between governments, private sectors, and civil society is paramount in fostering the implementation of socially inclusive transport infrastructure projects,” he asserted.

Onyebuchi Agbo-Anike, Transport Planning Expert at the University of Leeds, delved into innovative solutions during his presentation, highlighting the concept of the “15-Minute City” and the role of mobility as a service.

He emphasised the need for transportation planning to consider the diverse needs and cultural differences of communities, ensuring that infrastructure projects are community-driven and inclusive.

Onyebuchi proposed the adoption of smart public transport systems, such as buses and trains, as a means to enhance efficiency and reduce resource waste.

He also advocated for community-based and culturally influenced transport solutions, emphasising the importance of understanding what people want and tailoring projects to accommodate local customs.

“Innovation is key to bringing about socially inclusive transport. Mobility should not be a luxury but a service available to all, irrespective of social status or location,” he stated.

Onyebuchi Agbo-Anike, Transport Planning Expert at the University of Leeds

Onyebuchi made a note on the integration of emerging technologies like electric and autonomous vehicles in the development of sustainable and socially inclusive transport systems in Africa.

“Electric vehicles may be a part but not, the only solution we need. The transportation system should always be tackled holistically so that we do not keep changing the locations of problems and creating new ones,” he said.

“If the number of privately owned vehicles are not in check, gas emissions will move from internal combusting engines to rural power plants used for manufacturing electric vehicles. We should not incorporate new tools into old working frameworks. We need to be holistic and tackle the issues from all angles sustainably,” he concluded.

Further speaking, Eugene stressed the significance of a multi-stakeholder approach, with governments, private sectors, and civil society working collaboratively to drive the necessary changes.

He cited successful examples of civil society participation from PACJA and the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access (ACSEA) as evidence of the positive impact that such collaborations can have in advancing sustainable transportation and climate justice in Africa.

As the webinar concluded, participants jointly echoed the call for increased cooperation and collective action, underscoring the urgency of building a socially inclusive transport infrastructure to propel Africa into a more sustainable and equitable future.

Flyer of the event

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