TRansport in Africa- Disabling communities
In the last twenty years poverty in Sub Saharan Africa has doubled from 150 million to 300 million people living in poverty. This is more than 40% of Africa’s population living in poverty.
Transport affects everyone and better transport will improve the lives of everyone, urban, rural, business people, and individuals. This is why transport is known as the ultimate enabler. It enables a host of activities to take place.
- More than a billion of the rural population do not have access to adequate access to transport.
- Less than 34% of rural people live within 2km of an all season road.
- 40 – 60 percent have to walk more than 8 kilometers to the nearest health centre.
- Infant Mortality: About 120 out of a 1000 infants don’t see their fifth birthday but 75% of them could survive with better transport. Only 5 out of 1000 die in developed countries.
- Fatalities: 1.2 million die in car crashes every year most of them in developing world.
- Aid: 25% of aid given goes to transport.
The state of the transport system and its availability to both businesses and to the public greatly affect various areas of society. By investing in transport we can develop and grow our economy while improving the standard of living of the people. An improved transport system will benefit the following areas:
- Economy of the country.
- Improve investment in the country.
- Access to medical facilities and care which will improve Infant Mortality
- Poverty alleviation
Transport is therefore a crucial element in the development of our economy. To achieve the $20 Billion economy proposed by 2020, we need to build and invest in our transport systems and infrastructure. Toll gates have been set up across all road networks that are providing resources. These resources need to be put to work in the transport system, so that we may be able to see positive growth.
To provide adequate transport systems, we need to consider the rural areas where the majority of people live. A lot of investments are made into urban transport systems which only benefit a few while the majority of the population remains without adequate transport.
Solving transportation issues now requires the use of creative means that are sustainable, cost effective and environmentally friendly. Development, while simplifying and making our lives more convenient, has created a monster that is set to bring the planet to ruin. A solution is required for rural development that will improve the lives of rural communities without bringing all the frustrations that motorisation has brought with it. The use of non motorised transport is one solution. This can be in the form of animals, bicycles, carts, wagons etc.
This does not imply that rural communities in developing countries are deprived of faster means of transport but it gears them to sustainable means of transport. Lessons have been learnt from the congested and motorised cities in the west .These same things can be avoided by carefully planning sustainable transport solutions in the developing world.
Ambitious politicians in our developing countries however, aspire to bring motorised transport to remote villages so that they can catch up with the west. While the West is trying to discourage the use of cars, the developing world, is looking to increase the number of cars on their roads.
There is a way that rural mobility can be improved without too much dependence on cars. Non motorised transport is any mode of transport that does not use a motor, a motor being a machine that causes motion. By using non motorised transport, rural areas can develop and progress with the use of sustainable transport systems that do not require energy and motors. In the west non motorised transport is frowned upon and does not have the same self esteem benefits provided by motorised transport such as cars. Motorised transport comes in the form of cars, buses, and trains to name a few.