Women and Nonmotorized Transport: Connection in Africa Between Transportation and Economic Development


Philipott, Julia. 1994. “Women and Nonmotorized Transport: Connection in Africa Between Transportation and Economic Development.” Transportation Research Record, no. 1441, 39–43.

Author: Julia Philipott


Transportation is a vital element of every healthy economy and is crucial to any strategy that addresses poverty. Africa, a region struggling to alleviate rampant poverty, will have its success dictated largely by development of its transportation sector. In Africa, as in the rest of the world, a planning process that does not adequately assess the transport needs of its users is rendered far less effective than one based on a more comprehensive and inclusive analysis. Women, responsible for most transportation demand in Africa, have been mainly ignored by the current process. Both rural and urban women carry out a variety of tasks that often require trips of considerable distance. Most of these women, members of Africa's impoverished majority, cannot afford motorized transportation. Chores requiring transportation are carried out using carts, shoulder poles, and bicycles. However, transportation planners, development professionals, and policy makers continue to address mobility needs with projects and policies that are based on motorization. If the intended outcome of transportation planning in Africa is economic development and an increased standard of living, alternatives to a transportation system based on motorization must be a primary part of any policy and planning effort. Women traditionally have been responsible for almost all household production and transport labor associated with agricultural production. They hold a primary transport role in both urban and rural areas. Adequately assessing and addressing the nonmotorized transport needs of low-income women are crucial to bridging the connection between transportation planning and policies, transport technologies, and economic development in Africa.

Topics: Development, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Infrastructure, Transportation, Political Economies Regions: Africa

Year: 1994

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