COP28 is upon us, and with it comes a golden opportunity for Africa to position itself at the forefront of green mobility. Far from being a mere global trend, it represents the future of Africa. In the face of increasing urban congestion, air pollution, and dependence on fossil fuels, rethinking our approach to transportation has become imperative…
At the heart of West Africa’s socio-economic evolution, green mobility emerges not only as a crucial concern but as an urgent necessity. Faced with the alarming impact of current transportation systems on our environment, public health, and economy, how can we turn a blind eye?
Picture Africa: its rich history, diverse cultures, varied landscapes… Unfortunately, this image is, year after year, obscured by a haze of air pollution. This pollution is responsible for thousands of premature deaths each year, endangering the lives of our citizens and engulfing our financial resources.
In this burgeoning continent, where urbanization is intensifying, sustainable mobility is more central than ever. Congestion, toxic emissions, and dependence on fossil fuels heavily burden our expanding metropolises. But in the face of these challenges, an opportunity presents itself: electric vehicles (EVs).
Admittedly, the current infrastructure is a barrier. Charging stations are insufficient, and the transition to more expensive vehicles may seem daunting. But these challenges are not insurmountable. Nations like Norway and China have shown that EVs can dominate the market with the right incentives and infrastructure.
Visionary companies are illustrating this dynamic across Africa, from East to West, from North to South. Pioneers in the rental of electric vehicles in the region, they mark the beginning of a transportation revolution. A revolution that aims for a future where mobility is synonymous with ecological progress.
And this transition is not only beneficial for the environment.
The green mobility industry is a potential catalyst for job creation, technological innovation, and a more robust economy. EVs are cheaper to maintain, offering long-term savings for users.
However, to realize this vision, multi-sectoral collaboration is essential.
Governments, businesses, and citizens must join forces. Tax incentives, awareness campaigns, and the development of appropriate infrastructure are all key elements to foster this transition.
The numbers speak for themselves.
A study from The Lancet Planetary Health, which looked at the situation in four rapidly growing cities (Accra, Cairo, Johannesburg, and Lagos), concluded that toxic air – particularly particles and gases from industry and transport, but also wood stoves – caused the premature death of 1.1 million people in 2019. By comparison, 650,000 people lost their lives due to HIV/AIDS-related diseases worldwide that same year, according to UN figures.
On the contrary, adopting a green approach could save 125,000 lives, save $20 billion in costs, and reduce emissions in these cities by about 20% by 2040.
Meanwhile, the green mobility industry could create millions of jobs. However, if we do not change, the cost of our inaction could be multiplied by six, according to The Lancet Planetary Health.
The urgency is clear, but optimism remains.
By combining our resources, expertise, and collective will, we can make Africa a leader in green mobility.
As COP28 approaches, an opportunity presents itself. One to build a future where every journey is a step towards a more sustainable world.
Let’s seize it… Before it slips away.
By Jérôme De Villard,
General Director of Novago Group