Recent workshops in Ethiopia and Ghana took forward opportunities to develop projects to improve urban transport and mobility in the two cities.
Co-organised by the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) and country offices of the African Development Bank, the workshops took place in Addis Ababa and Accra on March 14 and 22, 2017, respectively.
The workshops were attended primarily by policy makers and senior officials responsible for highways and urban roads and development in the two cities, together with representatives from the African Development Bank, and multilateral and bilateral donors.
Discussion at the workshops focussed on the ICA-commissioned Diagnostic Study and Project Development/Investment Pipeline for Urban Transport in Sub-Saharan Africa, which looked at urban transport challenges and opportunities in five of Africa’s fastest-growing cities, including Addis Ababa and Accra.
The ICA presented the findings of the study, which identifies and details tangible, high-impact opportunities to improve sustainable urban transport and accessibility in the cities. Importantly, the study also highlights the importance of planning, preparation, organisation and capacity building in ensuring that projects to improve urban transport are sustainable and effective.
Workshop participants welcomed the opportunities presented by the study and confirmed that all the projects presented were still relevant. Government institutions at the workshops expressed interest in engaging with donors willing to finance any of the projects highlighted by the study.
A major challenge identified and emphasised by participants was the need to enhance capacity and skills, while it was also recognised that issues around road safety were of high importance, specifically that measures have to be taken to reduce traffic accidents involving pedestrians.
Explaining the background to the study, Mohamed Hassan, Coordinator of the ICA Secretariat, said, “Improved urban mobility and accessibility can bring major economic, social and environmental benefits. However, most African cities are ill-equipped to provide adequate transport facilities and opportunities to their current residents, never mind larger populations in the future. Policy makers and planners in Africa’s cities are grappling with numerous issues, ranging from insufficient infrastructure to inadequate technical, institutional, and financial capacities.
“Acknowledging these issues, the ICA commissioned this wide-ranging study to assess opportunities to support and assist African Governments and cities in overcoming their urban mobility challenges.”
Workshops are also envisaged for the other three cities covered by the study – Dakar, Dar-es-Salaam and Lagos.