Transport has serious negative impact on the environment and accounts for about 13 per cent of total world greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC 2007). About 80% of additional GHG emissions in the next decades will be from non-OECD countries.
While the main burden to reduce CO2 from transport is now on developed countries, the importance of low carbon transport sector on developing countries will grow.
The need to develop societies and economies in Africa which are less dependant on car- and road transport is crucial. With the steadily increasing level of motorised transport in Africa, this sector becomes the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions on the continent.
UNEP (with reference to analysis by International Clean Transport Council, ICCT) just released the 2012 Emissions Gap report (UNEP, November 2012) in which it states that the transport sector has the potential to reduce emissions 1.7-2.5 Gt CO2. Precondition is to act rapidly and on a global level, including developing countries.
Other emissions than GHG are of similar concern. Vehicle emission controls are either non-existent or not enforced. In nearly all African countries, leaded gasoline is still the norm. Lead reduction initiatives in Africa remain limited while the public and policymakers are not sufficiently aware of the need for urgent adoption of clean fuels and vehicles.
Lastly the destruction of forests and other ecosystems, land degradation and changes made in the drainage system associated with the construction of roads are increasingly becoming a further source of concern.