Africa Clean Mobility Week

Countries in Africa have among the highest urbanization and vehicle fleet growth rates in the world. Africa’s countries and cities are introducing new mobility plans that combine increased public transport with cleaner vehicles and electromobility. So now is the time to put in place policies and incentives that will see these countries and cities in Africa leapfrog to affordable clean mobility. 

Africa Clean Mobility Week brings together and provides a platform for participants to discuss cleaner mobility and its impacts on health, environment and economic growth in Africa. This conference builds on the outcomes of the 2014 Africa Sustainable Transport Forum where African ministers and experts agreed to 13 action items to promote sustainable transport. Aiming at continuing the development of a roadmap for clean mobility in Africa, the UN Environment Programme and its partners, including GFEI and FIA Foundation, invited ICCT to participate in the Africa Clean Mobility Week at the UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi from 12 to 16 March 2018.

The conference covers international practices on electric vehicle and autonomous vehicle promotion and application as well as fuel economy/CO2, vehicle emissions, electric mobility, used vehicles, and infrastructure. It is targeted towards governments, private sector, civil society, and development partners in the fields of environment and transportation, and provides an opportunity for the continent to develop a set of measures to move to cleaner mobility leveraging on good experiences and case studies from within and outside the region. 

Francisco Posada, a Senior Researcher at ICCT, presented ICCT’s work on fuel economy in South Africa as well as new approaches to adopting soot-free buses for public transport solutions. All other presentations from the week are available here.

Some of the main takeaways include:

Representatives of participant countries agreed that vehicle fuel economy (FE) policies have proven effective at shifting vehicle import towards a more efficient fleet. Countries are urged to review their polices to attract more efficient vehicles using GFEI’s tools. The first step for any program or policy is to establish the FE baseline. 

Representatives also agreed on sharing information regarding baseline development and FE policy activities. They recognize the need for FE programs to be part of a broader discussion on sustainable transport polices. Fiscal policies and label programs were identified as the starting point. They recognize the need for FE programs to be part of a broader discussion on sustainable transport policies. FE policies and programs were recognized as potential tools for meeting national and global climate change targets. The representatives also identified a need for clear communication on economic and emission impacts of FE policies. It would be preferred to adopt a harmonized regional approach to vehicle FE policy development and implementation throughout the continent, taking advantage of current economic communities formed across countries with similar cultural and geographical ties. 

Electric mobility represents an opportunity for countries in Africa to leapfrog to clean transport. Countries are encouraged to explore this option. There are various entry points for electric mobility. Low-hanging-fruit options are public transport (electric/hybrid buses), e-bikes, and electric 3-wheelers. Countries were encouraged to set aside resources to better understand the product offerings, benefits, and challenges. More consumer awareness is needed around clean mobility and its impact on daily life. Governments are encouraged to engage the private sector since they will play a major role in the successful transition to electric mobility. Learning by doing was also encouraged: pilot projects are crucial to familiarize consumers with the technology. Participants were made aware the importance of exploring waste management options for battery end of life.

Africa Clean Mobility Week

Francisco Posada