Download and read the workshop summary report for "Decarbonisation of Transport in Africa: A transport planning perspective"!
Globally, nearly a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. While much focus has been placed on the largest CO2 emitting economies, there is an opportunity to focus more attention on Africa.
Though Africa currently has one of the lowest motorisation rates globally, it is poised to become a major new player in the transport sector in the near future, with the potential to become a leader in the decarbonisation of transport movement. Leapfrogging fossil-fueled transportation promises economic, environmental, human health, and infrastructure benefits to African governments and societies. Africa’s rich renewable energy resources, short daily travelled distances, and young workforce make the Continent’s potential for electrification uptake strong. While some governments have taken laudable steps in reducing fossil fuel use in the transport sector, these efforts must be further coordinated and scaled up to secure the Continent’s energy future. Barriers include lack of enabling policy frameworks and integrated planning, affordability of electric vehicles, unreliable electricity generation, lack of awareness, and lack of supporting infrastructure, particularly in rural areas.
In November 2021, IAP and the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) brought together technical experts, policymakers, and other stakeholders to discuss urban planning and public transport considerations in the decarbonisation of transport in Africa, including infrastructure, financing, and policy considerations. The workshop planning was advised by the workshop planning committee, comprised of academy nominated experts from across the continent. The workshop was intended to help frame the focus of an IAP-NASAC follow-up study on the challenges and opportunities for decarbonisation of transport in Africa. Over the three days, 178 participants from 41 countries (27 countries in Africa and 14 elsewhere), across government/intergovernmental, academia and academies, NGOs, and the private sector participated at the workshop. The proceedings of the workshop can be found at https://www.interacademies.org/publication/decarbonisation-summary-report and is available in both English and French.
The study on the challenges and opportunities for decarbonisation of transport in Africa will build on the success of IAP's European Academy Network (EASAC) 2019 report and the November 2021 workshop on the topic and will explore questions such as the following:
- How can governments in Africa harness the economic, environmental and social benefits of decarbonisation of transport?
- What would it take to accelerate electric vehicle adoption consistent with national climate goals? Will other forms of low carbon fuels and fuel efficiency play a significant role?
- How can planning and urban design help drive transformation of the transport sector?
- What are the best solutions for rural areas, and for maintaining rural-urban connectivity in an environmentally sustainable manner?
- What lessons can be learnt and adopted/scaled-up from regional and global best practices?
- How can non-motorized transport be further utilized (particularly during the pandemic to maintain social distancing)?
- Which transport reforms could COVID-19 help accelerate?
- How can informal bus networks and local rideshare apps (e.g., SWVL in Egypt, Safeboda in Uganda) be incentivized to use electric vehicles? How can digitization help support this transformation?
- How can regulatory mechanisms promote investment in low-carbon transport?
- How can opportunities for local vehicle manufacturing support a long-term vision for sustainable transportation?
Led by a working group of international experts nominated by academies around the world and other scientific networks, the study will produce recommended priority actions for the African Union, ministries of transport, environment and finance, international development and finance institutions, and other stakeholders.
Possible Next Steps
Funding permitting, regional reports would be produced in a similar manner for the Americas and Asia region by IAP’s constituent regional networks, InterAmerican Network of Academies of Science (IANAS) and Association of Academies and Societies of Science in Asia (AASSA). The project will culminate in an over-arching global report and a final workshop to review the similarities and differences among the four regions.