The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has called on African countries to exert concerted efforts to improve continental connectivity.
The call came as the UNECA, in collaboration with African countries, held an event to mark World Sustainable Transport Day, which will fall on Nov. 26, focusing on current trends and remedial measures with a view to making Africa’s transportation systems more sustainable, socially inclusive, and environmentally friendly, the UNECA said in a statement Wednesday.
“African countries need to cooperate to enhance their connectivity through an integrated intermodal transport system,” the statement quoted Claver Gatete, executive secretary of the UNECA, as saying.
The UNECA chief noted that cooperation can be achieved not only by developing quality, reliable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure but also by exchanging best practices to optimize the development of interconnected highways, railways, waterways, and airways.
“We must also construct and operate our transport infrastructure in ways that minimize consumption of energy, land and other resources and generate low emissions of greenhouse gases, ozone-depleting substances, and other pollutants to ensure a positive social impact,” he said.
When addressing the event, Gambian Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Ebrima Sillah said that sustainable transport is not a luxury, but a necessity for the present and future well-being of the planet and its inhabitants.
“By prioritizing sustainable transport options, we can mitigate climate change, improve social equity, and drive economic growth,” the UNECA statement quoted Sillah as saying.
Benacer Boulaajoul, the chair of the African Road Safety Observatory Steering Committee, invited African states that have not yet done so to ratify the African Road Safety Charter to accelerate the deployment of solutions to make road transport more socially inclusive.
Soteri Gatera, senior economic affairs officer at the UNECA, said that to cope with rapid urbanization, the African continent needs to pursue sustainable urban transport solutions that will improve the quality of life for both city dwellers and tourists by improving safety and security, reducing pollution and CO2 emissions while increasing the attractiveness of urban environments.