Decarbonization of Transport in Africa: A transport planning perspective

Environment & Climate
Sustainable Development Goals


Though Africa currently has one of the lowest motorization 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

Aligned with Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA) 2024 priorities 3 (Communication – Physical and Intellectual Mobility) and 4 (protect our space), the proposed study will analyse policies to transform the transport fleet and related infrastructure, to electrical power generation with which transport will be increasingly coupled in the future, and to human behaviour. The study will adopt a holistic approach to address transport supply and demand for passengers and for freight.  It will produce recommended priority actions for governments and other stakeholders during the next 10-15 years as well as the longer term.

The adoption of common policies and regulations across the world could bring economies of scale to the introduction of innovative greenhouse gases emission reduction solutions, for road and maritime transport, and for aviation. The 2019 report by IAP’s European regional network, the European Academies' Science Advisory Council (EASAC), on the decarbonisation of transport, which primarily targeted EU policy makers, will provide a starting point for discussions.  

Scope of the 'Decarbonization of Transport in Africa: A transport planning perspective' project

The project will begin with a regional focus in Africa led with Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) . A scoping workshop involving academy-nominated experts, policymakers and funders will be held virtually on 15-17 November 2021. NASAC will establish an expert working group to answer a commonly agreed series of questions emerging from the workshop. Such questions may include:

  • 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?

The regional working groups will include expertise in transport and energy technologies, transport policy, energy and climate policy, and also in social sciences and economics, including life cycle analysis, as well as experience of giving science advice to policy makers at international, national, regional and local levels.  

Over the first two years, several coordination meetings will be held throughout Africa to produce an African regional report. In the second phase of the study, 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. 



People and Institutions

Contact Person
Workshop Planning Committee