What do digital technologies mean for African urban development?


Many African cities struggle to provide a functioning mass transportation system. The vast majority of commuters rely on unsubsidised privately provided transport in the form of informal minibuses (known as matatus in Kenya and minibus taxis in South Africa) and private taxis. These systems are regulated by a range of private transport interests, transport unions, political patronage and sometime criminal cartels, which are difficult to harmonise with official efforts to improve urban transport, environmental and security regulation. Yet, these local transport systems provided a vital service to poorer commuters long ignored by formal planners and they support the incomes of vast numbers of urban residents employed as drivers, collectors, touts, mechanics, body‐builders,…

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