Mobility in Africa. Workshop. Lome, Togo, 15-16 September 2015
On the occasion of the inauguration in Lome, Togo by the Codatu (Cooperation for urban mobility in the developing world) of the Master Transport and Sustainable Mobility in African Cities, a workshop associated participants and students on prospective on mobility in Africa. This program is part of the INTA initiative for Habitat III.
A Beninese delegation led by Severin Nsia, director of planning and Joseph Tossavi came from Cotonou to participate in the workshop, which brought together nearly 50 participants.
The first observation is that the city goes faster than the urban masterplans, that a shift has to be done from an engineering work to a broader urban engineering and disengage linked funding that delay the development of territories.
Individual transport - all modes - remains the dominant mode of travel, and rapid raise of individual car - seen as a social good - leads to congestion of African cities.
Public transit is not accepted by the inhabitants except behavioral change from users. Changing public transit also requires accompanying measures to organize informal transport but also sharing the road between traffic and informal trade.
The switch to public transport is hindered by strong economic considerations: first industrial policies of car manufacturers in developed countries or not that dump on Africa their used cars at bargain prices; secondly an indifference from local authorities with respect to the informal transport such as motorbike taxis that compete with taxis because these "illegal" business still generate resources.
A better articulation between mobility, transport and urban development would reduce travel demand, especially in the hearts of agglomeration. The TIC impose on Africa today; they certainly will affect the flow of movement, orientation and parking of vehicles in dense urban areas.