Climate-neutral mobility can ensure sustainable economic growth on the African continent

New discussion paper by GIZ and Agora Verkehrswende outlines potentials for a climate-neutral and just transport sector in Africa / Joint initiative to strengthen international cooperation in sustainable transport and climate protection

Berlin, 6 June 2023 – Unlocking sustainable economic growth in Africa requires a vision for climate-neutral mobility on the continent, and this vision must emerge from within African countries. This is the key finding of a new discussion paper by the German development agency GIZ and the think tank Agora Verkehrswende. The paper, which is based on in-depth discussions with experts in Africa, aims to stimulate a robust international dialogue on this topic.

Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven, a Managing Director of GIZ, observes: “A sustainable transport sector in African countries must be accessible to all and climate friendly. It requires both international attention and African solutions.”

The paper offers 12 insights concerning the structures and capacities for climate-friendly mobility that could be created on the African continent, while also spotlighting the need to avoid reliance on car-friendly development and fossil fuels – a mistake made by other countries. In the fields of spatial planning and transport infrastructure development, it is therefore crucial to consider to the goals of climate protection, social justice, quality of life, and crisis resilience.

Christian Hochfeld, Director of Agora Verkehrswende, comments: “If African countries are to pursue climate protection goals, they must be able to determine their own strategies and solutions. The transformation must also be economically worthwhile for them. They have contributed the least to global warming, but will be strongly affected by the impacts. This augments the responsibility of the Global North to invest with partners from Africa in a more sustainable future.”

Strong prospects: electric vehicles, renewable energy, digital transformation

African countries have a tremendous opportunity to tap into the potentials offered by electric vehicles, renewable energy, and the digital transformation. The continent has superb conditions for the generation of wind and solar energy. Instead of permanently importing high-consumption and high-emission combustion vehicles, African countries could build up their own industries for the production of electric vehicles and battery cells. The necessary raw materials are available in sufficient quantities on the continent. There is also extensive potential for the further development of informal bus services by electrifying bus fleets and integrating them into digital mobility platforms. A sustainable transport system is an important prerequisite for effective and safe mobility, despite foreseeable climate change impacts. It would also minimise the contribution made by Africa’s rapidly growing transport sector to global warming.

The discussion paper, titled “Leapfrogging to Sustainable Transport in Africa: Twelve Insights into the Continent’s Sector Transformation”, is available for download at and  

GIZ and Agora Verkehrswende will present the insights contained in the paper at an upcoming event, to be held prospectively this autumn. The cooperation partner is the UN Development Programme (UNDP); UNDP Executive Director Achim Steiner will participate in the event as a speaker.

In addition to inspiring young professionals from Africa as well as scientific institutions and think tanks, GIZ and Agora Verkehrswende hope to strengthen capacities for sustainable mobility planning. To this end, GIZ will be organising further cooperative formats within the scope of the GIZ project Rethinking Transport. Further information is available online at

About Agora Verkehrswende

Agora Verkehrswende is a Berlin-based think tank that seeks to promote climate-friendly mobility.  Non-partisan and non-profit, it works together with key stakeholders in the fields of politics, business, academia and civil society to decarbonise the transport system.  To this end, the think-tank team develops evidence-based policy strategies and recommendations.  Agora Verkehrswende was initiated in 2016 by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.

For further information

Stay in touch. Subscribe to our newsletter.