State Cars

A UN official on Thursday attributed the increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Africa to unregulated importation of used vehicles.
Rob de Jong, head of Air Quality and Mobility Unit at the UN Environment, said the majority of diesel engine vehicles sold to the continent produce adverse emissions that require regulation.

“You need to develop a harmonized policy to help regulate the importation of the vehicles to avoid being duped by importers,” he said at the ongoing Africa Clean Mobility Conference in Nairobi.

De Jong noted that the majority of countries do not have policies to regulate the importation of the vehicles and that the existing policies are not uniform.

He said given that the countries have porous borders, it is important that a harmonized policy is developed as opposed to every country developing their own.

“You need to copy the European Union that has a single policy that guides the importation of used cars,” he added.

Used vehicles are popular in most African countries, yet their rate of pollution is higher compared to new vehicles.

In East Africa alone, 70 percent of GHG emissions recorded comes from the transport sector that is dominated by the used vehicles.

De Jong said more than 42 million used cars were imported in the continent mainly by Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Guinea, Cameroon, Togo and Uganda in 2014 alone.
He said even as the vehicles provide opportunities, they too provide challenges in regard to their condition and fuel issues.

De Jong urged African governments to acquire affordable technology to help acquire quality used vehicles, fit for the operating environment and do not have adverse financial, environmental and health impacts.

“The vehicles should be between three to five years old, proven to work well and clean for usage,” he added.

De Jong commended Mauritius which imported four hybrid electric vehicles in 2016 and has increased the number to 4,000.

He said the UN Environment is ready to help the countries develop harmonized policies to avoid having several different policies.

“Vehicle exporting countries must also stop dumping unsafe and dirty vehicles and start helping African countries leapfrog to clean and safe technology,” he noted.

He recommended that exporters contribute one U.S. dollars per every exported car to help fix their environmental damage.

According to the UNEP, used cars in the continent are mainly imported from Japan, Europe and the United States. Kenya imports 96 percent of used cars years while Nigeria imports 99 mainly through internet-based sales. Liberia imports 90 percent while in Uganda the numbers of used cars are higher than new cars. Enditem

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