China’s building plans could strain African economies

Ricardo Reboredo, Trinity College Dublin It has been described by Chinese president Xi Jinping as the “project of the century”. And the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative is certainly ambitious. A massive infrastructural development program that will potentially span 60 countries, and cost an estimated US$5 trillion, it will mean building new rail networks, …

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Why are Johannesburg’s bike lanes not well used?

Njogu Morgan, University of the Witwatersrand When you think of the world’s bicycle friendly cities, Johannesburg probably doesn’t feature. That’s not for lack of trying. Over the past few years bicycle lanes have been built in various parts of South Africa’s most populous city. These bike lanes were meant to encourage commuter cycling and were …

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Using cellphone data to help Nairobi crack commuter stress

Jacqueline M Klopp, Columbia University A collaboration between Kenyan and American universities has produced the first comprehensive public transport data for a micro minibus (matatu) system in Africa. Digital Matatus continues to collect and update data on matatu routes in Nairobi and is supporting projects elsewhere. The aim is to use technology and local partnerships …

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Doubts over African trade corridor plans

By Edd Gent Huge trade corridors crisscrossing Africa could cause “irrevocable” environmental damage without realising many of their supposed development benefits, say researchers. Centred on the construction of major roads or railways, these ‘development corridors’ have been touted primarily as a way to boost agricultural markets, mineral exports and economic integration. But an analysis of …

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Uganda pushes ahead with ‘risky’ car plans

By Esther Nakkazi [KAMPALA] By 2018, Uganda’s planned automotive industry will be making 7,000 hybrid cars a year, says Paul Isaac Musasizi, acting CEO of the state-run Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC). The petrol and electric car, called the Kiira SMACK, will have five seats, a top speed of 180 kilometres an hour and will be …

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