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African governments should embark on policy and regulatory reforms to promote eco-friendly transportation in rapidly growing cities, experts said on Wednesday, March 14, 2018.

Africa Clean Mobility Week
Head of UN Environment, Erik Solheim (right), with other staffers of the UN body (Gerald Banaga-Bangi, Wanuku Manyaba and Jane Akumu) during a briefing at the Africa Clean Mobility Week, in Nairobi, Kenya

The experts attending the ongoing African Clean Mobility Week in Nairobi, Kenya agreed that African countries were ripe for a transition to greener mobility.

Pierpaolo Cazzola, an energy and transport analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA), said a transition to low-carbon mobility in Africa is key to hasten the continent’s sustainable growth.

“There is an opportunity to scale up access to clean transport systems in Africa but there must be a conducive policy environment and infrastructure to allow that goal to be realized,” Cazzola said.

Dozens of participants including policymakers, regulators, investors and experts are attending the five-day conference to discuss strategies required to accelerate the transition to low-carbon transport.

Cazzola noted that many African countries have reaffirmed their commitment to green mobility in the light of negative impact of climate change on burgeoning cities.

“There is a reawakening in many parts of developing world including Africa, Latin America and Asia that emission-free transport has a huge economic, social and environmental value,” said Cazzola.

He urged African governments to rally behind the Electric Vehicles Initiatives (EVI) that seeks to hasten the transition to green transport in big cities.

Frank Romano, CEO of Nairobi-based solar solutions firm, Knights Energy, challenged African governments to explore innovative financing mechanisms to promote clean mobility in densely populated cities.

“A policy shift combined with innovative funding and infrastructure development could open space for electric vehicles on our roads to reduce air pollution,” said Romano.

He urged African governments and municipal authorities to address bottlenecks that have undermined rollout of eco-friendly modes of transport that includes archaic policies, under-funding and limited public awareness.

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