Experts call for greater adoption of non-motorized transport in African cities
KISUMU, Kenya, 20 May – City authorities in Africa should reconfigure urban planning to boost adoption of non-motorized transport that promotes climate resilience and human health, experts said Thursday at the ongoing ninth Africities Summit in the region. town of Kisumu, in western Kenya.
Adelheid Onyango, Director of Universal Healthcare and Healthier Populations at the World Health Organization (WHO), highlighted the need for African cities to create ample spaces for cycling and walking to reduce their carbon footprint.
“It is necessary to have a political commitment to introduce non-motorized means of transport, reduce carbon emissions, pollution and non-communicable diseases,” he said.
By investing in green mobility, Onyango said, African cities could reap multiple benefits, including better health outcomes for the population, climate resilience and economic vitality.
Nneka Henry, head of the United Nations Road Safety Fund, said that in addition to revitalizing Africa’s green growth, non-motorized transport would also reduce road accidents and fatalities.
Noting that the continent records 650 road crash deaths every day, Henry said part of the solution lies in reclaiming spaces for cycling and walking.
Andre Dzikus, chief of the urban core service at the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat), said non-motorized transport in cities should inform future plans to protect them from climate emergencies, pollution and ecological depletion.
He stressed that sharing best practices, targeted investments, capacity development and policy realignment are key to boosting the adoption of non-motorized transport in African cities.
Juma Assiano, coordinator of the safer cities program at UN-Habitat, said city authorities should invest in supportive infrastructure, evidence-based research and public awareness to scale up green mobility.
According to Assiano, the next generation of African civil engineers and urban planners should be trained to design infrastructure that can facilitate greater adoption of non-motorized transport in cities and towns.