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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Africa must build a more robust public transport system

The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has urged African countries to unite and build a more robust public transport system to facilitate smooth operations to reduce the burden placed on commuters by transport operators.

He said the lack of adequate public transportation systems is a pressing issue plaguing the transport sector in Africa, attributing the challenge to insufficient infrastructure.

This, he noted, can be addressed through legislation, regulation, and laws, emphasising their crucial role in preventing transport operators from overburdening commuters with exorbitant fares.

“We need to establish legislation, regulations, and laws to ensure that commuters are not exploited by transport operators. This doesn’t mean transport operators don’t deserve fair compensation, but without regulation, they may overcharge our people,” he emphasised.

Asiamah made these remarks during an interaction with the press after receiving the ‘Most Outstanding Innovation in Infrastructure Development’ Award at the 2024 African Public Service Optimum (APSO) Conference & Awards night in Accra on June 5, 2024.

The event, themed “Transforming Africa through Public Service Professionalism and Excellence,” aimed to recognize outstanding public institutions and public servants who have demonstrated excellence in delivering public goods and services.

It also sought to foster cooperation and working relationships among award-winning institutions and public officials across Africa.

In attendance were ambassadors, ministers, traditional rulers, and diplomats from across the continent.

Asiamah further emphasised that unregulated transport operators may exploit passengers, leading to selfish manipulations that drive up the prices of essential goods and services. He cited the Matatus (minibus) industry in East Africa as an example, where safety and affordability are significant concerns.

The minister stressed the need for African governments to strike a balance between allowing transport operators to earn a fair income and protecting commuters from exploitation.

By implementing laws and strengthening institutions, Africa can build a more robust public transport system, he noted while acknowledging that not everyone can afford private vehicles.

This move, Asiamah clarified, is not an anti-transport operator but rather a call for empathy and understanding for the continent’s economically vulnerable populations.

“By prioritising commuter welfare and safety, Africa can work towards a more equitable and sustainable transportation sector,” he underscored.

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Source:
Transport Ministry

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