In a monumental leap towards sustainable urban progress, Dakar Mobility, a pioneering Senegalese firm co-owned by Meridiam and the Sovereign Strategic Investment Fund of Senegal (FONSIS), has secured a groundbreaking €135 million in funding. This historic investment, the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa, will pave the way for establishing a revolutionary 100% electric Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. The funding, contributed by Proparco, EAIF, PIDG TA, and the European Union (EU), marks a significant stride in the region’s commitment to eco-friendly urban transportation.
In its pursuit of an ambitious urban transportation overhaul, Dakar is addressing severe traffic congestion issues that contribute to road safety concerns, elevated air pollution levels, and substantial greenhouse gas emissions. Spearheaded by the Executive Council for Sustainable Urban Transport (CETUD), this visionary initiative seeks to mitigate these challenges through the implementation of a cutting-edge BRT system.
The upcoming Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system will seamlessly connect the Petersen bus station in the Dakar Plateau to the Guédiawaye prefecture in the northern suburbs, spanning a total of 18.3 kilometers and featuring 23 stations. This network will boast a fleet of 121 electric buses, positioning it as a trailblazing initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Financing the Future of Transportation
The Dakar BRT project is a testament to collaboration, with various funding sources ensuring its realization. A loan of €85.4 million, evenly split between Proparco and EAIF, forms the financial backbone. Additionally, a €6.4 million loan from these institutions is earmarked for future battery replacements after the buses complete their eight-year service period. The European Union is playing a pivotal role by contributing €7 million to this initiative. Facilitating approximately €9 million in grants, PIDG TA is a critical player in meeting the project’s financial requirements, while Meridiam and FONSIS are covering the remaining financial aspects.
EU’s Global Gateway Strategy in Action
The European Union‘s involvement in the Dakar BRT project aligns seamlessly with its Global Gateway strategy, emphasizing the creation of intelligent, clean, and secure networks in digital, energy, and transportation. This investment underscores the EU’s dedication to fostering sustainable and clean urban mobility solutions on a global scale.
Revolutionizing Transportation in Dakar
Upon completion, the Dakar BRT project is poised to revolutionize transportation in the Dakar metropolitan area. Positioned as a primary mode of transportation, the initiative ambitiously aims to accommodate 300,000 passengers daily. This groundbreaking system is anticipated to significantly reduce travel durations, enabling commuters to traverse the distance between the two ends of the line in a mere 45 minutes – a substantial improvement from the current 90-minute journey.
Beyond Transportation: Socio-Economic Impact
The Dakar BRT project extends its impact beyond transportation efficiency, anticipating substantial contributions to the local economy and overall quality of life in Dakar. Dakar Mobility has committed to generating around 1,000 direct local jobs through this project, with a specific focus on enhancing job accessibility for women and providing opportunities for skill development in mass public transport for the youth.
The improved accessibility to peripheral areas of the Dakar basin is expected to create enhanced employment opportunities. “Dakar Mobility” introduces a social pricing strategy, slashing fares by up to 50% for the disadvantaged, making new opportunities more accessible through the BRT system.
Inclusivity and Safety at the Core
Prioritizing inclusivity and safety, the project incorporates high-quality facilities at stations and in adjacent areas. These facilities encompass pedestrian provisions, public lighting along the BRT routes for increased security, bus spaces designed for wheelchair users, and seats reserved explicitly for those with limited mobility.
In tandem with reconfiguring existing bus routes, the Dakar BRT project adopts a comprehensive approach to urban transportation. Building on the success of the Regional Express Train (TER), launched in 2021, this initiative underscores the region’s commitment to sustainable transport.
Pioneering Sustainable Urban Transportation
Dakar stands as a pioneer by implementing a fully electric Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, marking a significant leap towards sustainable urban progress. This ambitious project, encompassing environmental preservation, economic advancement, and social welfare, is poised to revolutionize Dakar’s transport system. Its success holds the potential to serve as a model for sustainable urban transportation throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.