Africa's Rapid Urbanization Challenge

Increasingly congested cities with poor urban and transport planning

Over the last two decades, urbanization in Africa has grown at an average of 4.5% per year. It is projected that by 2050, Africa will be home to an additional 300 million urban residents. Faced with fast-growing urbanization and motorization rates, providing a sustainable response to Africa’s growing urban transport and mobility needs will be a struggle for most African cities, which are already struggling to control air pollution and keep up with the growing urban transport and mobility needs of its citizens.

Over 60% of African
people will live in urban areas by 2050
Growing by 4.5% annually, Africa
is the world's fastest urbanizing continent
80% of Africa's urban dwellers
don't have a motor vehicle, but this is changing quickly
Responsive image
Testimonial of Mr. Romain Kouakou, Director General of Land Transport and Mobility, Ministry of Transport, Cote d’Ivoire


SSATP's Response

An integrated approach to urban transport and mobility

Drawing on its extensive experience in policy formulation, SSATP developed the “EASI” (Enable / Avoid / Shift / Improve) framework to support African countries with developing strategies and policies that can help unlock the economic benefits of a well-functioning urban transport sector. The framework underpins all SSATP activities, which provide useful tools for developing safe, clean, and affordable urban transport systems for Africa's cities and urban areas.

To ensure the sustainable development of Africa's urban areas, SSATP promotes the adoption of an integrated approach to Urban Transport and Mobility (UTM) management that brings the urban transport and urban development agendas together to effectively address rapid and uncontrolled urbanization. SSATP supports its member countries by:

  • Fostering knowledge of, and the demand for, effective policies for sustainable urban transport and mobility.
  • Building the capacity of cities and metropolitan areas to design, adopt and implement effective policies for sustainable UTM management in Africa.

Overall, SSATP's policy interventions focus on providing technical and policy support to African cities, helping them apply and disseminate sustainable UTM policies and the related concept framework. It’s a step-by-step process starting with the launch of integrated urban transport studies for cities. These demand-driven studies cover critical thematic areas, focusing on the institutional aspects of developing and implementing mass transport projects while taking into account land use and transport planning for devising holistic urban transport master plans.

Towards Sustainable Urban Mobility

Delivering results on the ground

Urban Mobility Authority for Abidjan: SSATP supported the Government of Côte d’Ivoire in setting up the urban transport authority for the Greater Abidjan Metropolitan Area, named Grand Abidjan Mobilité, providing strategic guidance regarding the institutional setup, the organizational chart, the source of funding and the expertise and skills required to run the new agency. Grand Abidjan Mobilité is now in place and its operationalization is being supported by an ongoing World Bank funded project.

Leaders in Urban Transport Planning (LUTP) Training Program: In collaboration with the World Bank Group, SSATP organized LUTP training programs for its Anglophone and Francophone member countries. Through interactive discussions and case studies, the LUTP training program: (i) raises the profile of urban mobility awareness among leaders in urban transport; (ii) equips leaders in urban transport planning with the basic knowledge and tools needed for identifying, assessing, and implementing appropriate decisions for  improving urban transport; and (iii) provides a solid platform for learning and sharing experiences based on both the successes and failures of different countries and cities.

      man walking in Ugandan city

      Featured Publication

      Policies for Sustainable Accessibility and Mobility in Urban Areas of Africa. This working paper assists African policy and decision makers with transforming their urban areas from obstacles to growth to engines of economic development and poverty alleviation. It proposes a set of policy recommendations structured using the EASI conceptual framework.

      Knowledge in Practice

      Building institutional capacities

      With the goal of developing a holistic and integrated approach for addressing the urban mobility issues and challenges of Africa’s metropolitan areas, SSATP develops policy briefs and strategy guideline notes to boost the capacity of client countries to implement sustainable urban transport development and management programs. Serving as a roadmap for achieving sustainable urban transport and mobility (UTM), key recommendations include:

      • Strengthening the institutional framework for UTM management
      • Creating sources of dedicated funding for UTM management
      • Fostering effective civil society participation in UTM management
      • Improving land use and transport planning coordination and promoting multi-modal transport systems for cities 
      • Implementing public transport improvement programs, with a focus on leapfrogging paratransit reform through digitalization
      • Anticipating and delivering national government support for urban transport management in secondary cities

      The general methodology underlying SSATP's urban transport and mobility activities involves identifying successful experiences and promoting their replication. The team not only engages in strong advocacy and knowledge dissemination activities, but also works in close collaboration with key stakeholders to mobilize their support for implementing and taking ownership of the recommended actions.


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