NAIROBI, March 9 (Xinhua) -- The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on Saturday urged Africa to put in place policies to promote clean mobility solutions.
"African governments should use tax incentives to promote uptake of clean internal combustion vehicles as well as electric vehicles," Jane Akumu, the African focal at UNEP on promoting cleaner mobility programs, told an environment forum in Nairobi, adding that emissions from the transport sector account for the bulk of pollutants negatively affecting the continent.
During the second global session of the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment, Akumu noted that currently most African countries charge high import duties for newer vehicles and less custom tariffs for the older vehicles which emit more pollutants to the environment.
"This policy has the unintended effect of promoting dirtier vehicles on the street at the expense of cleaner modes of transport," she said.
Noting that most African countries don't have local manufacturing industries of vehicles and rely on imported second-hand ones, she said that "the continent should have stringent environmental standards for vehicle imports to ensure that Africa is not used as a dumping ground for heavy polluting cars."
The UN is also assisting African governments in conducting analysis of emissions of imported vehicles to ensure they don't allow heavy polluting automobiles on their roads, said Akumu.
She observed that currently second-hand electric vehicles cost the same prices as diesel and petrol cars.
"So one way Africa can promote a shift to cleaner mobility solutions is through zero rating imports of electric vehicles," she added.