Addressing Africa's Urban Transport & Mobility Challenges

Urban Access & Mobility


urban Go to the Urban Transport & Mobility topic page to know more about SSATP activities and download related publications



  1. Foster knowledge, awareness, development, adoption and implementation of comprehensive sustainable policies for urban mobility
  2. Ensure that cities and metropolitan areas have the understanding, mandate and capabilities to implement effective urban transport policies

With soon more than half of Africa’s population living in cities, providing a sustainable response to the demand for mobility of urban dwellers is an urgent growing concern. As a result of rural-urban migration and annual population growth rates at around 4.5 percent, urban areas in most parts of Africa are faced with major development challenges, with levels of access and mobility considered to be dramatically low for meeting current and future needs of the populations. It is projected that over the next twenty years there will be an additional 300 million urban residents in Africa, and by 2050, 60 percent of all Africans will live in an urban area. Economic growth will also result in accelerated motorization due to the current low motorization rate. Congestion is already hampering the movement of people and goods in many cities and economic zones and causes both environmental, health, and economic concerns which are challenges for transport. Crippling congestion in urban areas is aggravated by inadequate policy frameworks and a weak capacity to address the environmental, social, and safety risks of fast growing motorization. Lack of coordinated planning of land-use and transport leads to inefficient cities, congestion, and unsatisfied transport demand, in particular for the poorer segment of the population.

Little interest has been shown by individual countries and the development community to invest significantly in the development of cities and urban mobility. Cities have for the most part been left on their own to deal with an uncontrolled growth and urban transport development challenges are rarely considered in the development strategies. However, through this cluster, SSATP has a unique opportunity to help address the rapid and uncontrolled urbanization of many African cities by bringing the urban transport agenda together with the urban development agenda to the forefront of sustainable development. It is an opportunity for pre-emptive actions to slow down further degradation of the environment. Failing to act would diminish the positive gains achieved through other initiatives if the share of transport in greenhouse gas emissions continues to grow and exceeds savings in other sectors.

However, it is recognized that improving urban mobility is not only about building sustainable transport infrastructure, but doing it with a clear goal established and in a manner that is systematic and well integrated with overall city planning. Otherwise, investments tend to become sub-optimal and further delays will mean that cities will be locked into land-use patterns and industry patterns that are very difficult to reverse.



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