On July 2nd, the first day of the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Sub-Sahara Africa Transport Policy Program (SSATP), its Pillar B on Urban Mobility was opened by the pillar lead, Mr. Zemedkun Girma. It started with sessions hosted by the MobiliseYourCity Partnership in cooperation with the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI), and ISOCARP.
The sessions were attended by over 80 participants, including senior government officials from African countries, representatives from the private sector and multilateral organisations like AfDB, World Bank and UNECA.
The first session, delivered by Holger Dalkmann, included three elements: Sharing opportunities through new global initiatives; presentation and discussion onprinciples for sustainable urban mobility and National Urban Mobility Policies and Investment Programs (NUMP). The nine principles on urban sustainable mobility highlighted the importance of a wide range of actions linked to the AVOID-SHIFT-IMPROVE paradigm. The importance of enabling factors throughinstitutional strengthening, capacity building and financing were stressed by many participants. For the future of capacity building it was seen as key to pay more attention to the education at universities so that engineers and planners have access to the state of the art knowledge on sustainable urban transport solutions and design. The SSATP program on collaborating with African universities was seen as a good example to move forward.
- TheTransformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) and the MobiliseYourCity Partnership raised high interest among the participants and some members already shared their positive experience benefitting from its capacity building and technical assistance. In addition, the new High Volume Transport (HVT)) program by DFIDwas presented as a new interesting 5 year initiative to bring state of the art research into action. UITP shared their latest initiatives to strengthen advocacy and leadership in Africa. The need for better access to the different opportunities and stronger collaboration was raised by the participants.
- The presentation and discussion on National Urban Mobility Plans and Investment Programshighlighted the importance of action by national governments to enable transformation at the local level. With the highest rates of urbanization in the world it is inevitable to improve particularly in Africa the local infrastructure and operation of sustainable mobility solutions; measures shall aim at further strengthening the economies and providing safe access to all inhabitants. The need for clear institutional arrangements defined in regulatory frameworks, the empowerment of the municipalities and the need to provide resources for urban infrastructure,operation and personal capacity were key elements identified. A reform of the national road funds to support urban mobility was one of the ideas put forward. Some participants welcomed a stronger AU engagement in urban mobility and suggested further guidance on a continental level.
- The final session hosted by ISOCARP highlighted the importance of linking transport and urban development. The concept of Transit Oriented Development (TOD)need to be adjusted to the need and design of African cities. It was stressed that redesign of the existing structuresas well as the new constructions are equally important and that a better, and safer infrastructure in particular for walking, cycling and public transport is a must. This was also emphasized in a closing presentation by Nigerian author Emmanuel John, who closed the session with the key message that cities should be built for people and not for cars.