Social Dimension

In 2000, one in three Africans lived in a city. By 2030 one in two will do so. African cities, so far, have failed to expand their urban road infrastructure to meet the needs of rapidly growing cities. Urban road density is low and lags far behind to cope with the growing need of urban population.

In most cities authorities had difficulties meeting the service demands of its population, in particularly of the poor. According to the World Bank’s Urban Transport Indicators database, the average number of bus seats per 1,000 urban residents of Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe lies around 30 – 40. In Africa the average number is only 6 bus seats per thousand residents for (Kumar&Barrett 2008, p.31). Waves of informal minibuses largely dominate urban transport services in Africa. The average cost of a one-way trip is about 0.30 $, which is high in relation to the average household budgets. These unaffordable fares are clearly linked to poor people’s decision to walk – in an environment with poor facilities for non- motorized transport. Inadequate infrastructure leads to an inadequacy of access of the poor’s to jobs and basic services. Particularly in rural areas, the lack of a transport infrastructure and services limit the poor’s access to facilities, such as schools, health care centres and resources, such as water and fire wood.

The lack of transport services and infrastructure can be understood as a contribution to the inability to strengthen human capabilities. The non- motorisation rate is 90 per cent. Most journeys are made on foot, but most African governments do not actively facilitate and promote the use of bicycles and other means of non-motorised transport to improve the accessibility for all citizens.

No region illustrates the dilemma between the link of transport infrastructure and services and the different dimensions of poverty better than Sub-Saharan Africa.


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