The EU Commission gathers 40 African and Latino-American delegates to exchange lessons on paratransit professionalisation at UITP Summit

UITP conference

On the occasion of the UITP Summit 2023 taking place from 4-7 June in Barcelona, Spain, MobiliseYourCity partner the EU Commission has invited a delegation of 40 local and national government representatives from Africa and Latin America to join a knowledge exchange workshop entitled "Public transport governance, integration, and paratransit capacity building: lessons from Africa and Latin America”. 

The objective of the workshop was to enable these cities and countries to get access to the world's leading conference and exhibition which brings together all stakeholders associated with public transport, but also to allow networking and knowledge exchange among the cities and to highlight the EU support offered through EUROCLIMA, SSATP and MobiliseYourCity under the Global Gateway strategy. 

The EU has supported these three initiatives to encourage the transition of cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America to sustainable mobility. While MobiliseYourCity works across the three continents, SSATP focuses on Africa and EUROCLIMA on Latin America. 

On Tuesday 6th, the EU Commission organised a panel discussion with representatives from Lagos, Nigeria, Argentina, Bogota, Colombia, Dakar, Senegal, and Maputo, Mozambique. 

Carla Montesi, Director at the European Commission's Directorate-General for International Partnerships, introduced the Global Gateway strategy, the EU strategy for connectivity in partner countries of the EU. She highlighted the EU’s goal to expand its global climate ambition outside the EU and presented the strategy as an instrument to help partners with the climate and digital transition. The strategy concentrates on several topics, including transport.  

The panellists discussed the challenges of urban mobility governance and institutions and presented some successful examples. They highlighted the importance for transport authorities to know where they want to go, to have good planning documents on which to rely and to be able to mobilise finance. They all underlined the need for capacity building to strengthen institutions and the importance of having a long-term strategy to enable a real transition to sustainable transport. 

On Wednesday 7th, the delegates met at the Barcelona School of Civil Engineering for a conference dedicated to paratransit capacity building and fleet renewal programs in Latin America and Africa. Three sessions alternated presentations from the World Bank with panel discussions among the delegates. The mix of various perspectives between a multilateral development bank, local and national governments at various stages of the professionalisation of paratransit, and some academics enabled a rich and engaged discussion on pressing issues the cities are facing.  

Throughout the discussions, many examples demonstrated the commitment of cities to integrate paratransit while professionalising it. The panellists presented their strategies to renew fleets or to transition to electric mobility. 

This workshop stressed how critical it is for cities in Africa and Latin America to get support on urban mobility governance and paratransit professionalisation. Despite great efforts on these matters and the determination of some governments to transition to sustainable urban mobility, they expressed a need for more capacity development and support to mobilise finance.