This interview took place in the frame of the launch of a partnership between Niamey, the capital of Niger, and CODATU, to develop the first strategy of the City of Niamey in terms of urban mobility.
Mamoudou Mouctar is the President of the Special Delegation (PDS) of the City of Niamey. As the Special Delegation is a specific municipal organization, he therefore acts as Mayor. He is also the Commissioner of the Presidential Program for the Modernization of the City: « Niamey nyala » (« Niamey the coquette »).
CODATU: What is your vision of the development of urban mobility for Niamey and what are the projects in progress?
Mamoudou Mouctar: The city of Niamey is experiencing strong growth, both spatially and demographic. This creates problems not only for mobility but for all services to the population. Working on mobility is a major issue for Niamey, because it allows access to services and employment, and it has been neglected for a long time in Niamey. This explains the lack of study and reliable data on this topic. However, the challenges are the following :
• Many people are used to walk but it is rather a mode of displacement suffered and not chosen, due to a lack of public transport ;
• This sector, poorly organized by the municipality, is mainly occupied by artisanal transport, particularly the « Faba-Faba » (minibus serving the suburb areas of the city). These respond to a significant travel demand but the quality of service remains low and road insecurity is important.
Our vision would be to establish, initially, an diagnosis shared by all stakeholders in the urban transport sector, whether institutional or artisanal. This would help to define strategic directions and then a roadmap. The process will likely begin with the optimization of what already exist. In a second step, we would like to implement complementary policies, techniques or solutions that will be made in the roadmap.
CODATU: You plan to organize the first Urban Mobility Forum in Niamey, to initiate a dynamic of sustainable improvement of urban mobility. What would be your main expectations for this forum?
Mamoudou Mouctar: The Urban Mobility Forum will allow stakeholders and experts from this field to gather and discuss urban mobility in Niamey. This is the first step in the process described above: (i) Share the state of the art, (ii) Establish an action plan, and (iii) move to implementation by optimizing the existing and by not burning the steps.
We need to create a framework to consult of all stakeholders and to enable them to know what is happening elsewhere – good practices such as failures – in order to make relevant choices. The partnership with CODATU would capitalize on external experiences and disseminate them to all the stakeholders in the urban transport sector.
CODATU: What do you expect from the State to support you in this project?
Mamoudou Mouctar: The commitment of the State is already strong in this area, especially with the Presidential Program of Modernization of the City: « Niamey the coquette ». This is a real opportunity to act on urban mobility because this program includes the renovation of existing roads and construction of new roads. The ring road of Niamey is emblematic of this program with the construction of road interchange to reduce congestion. These infrastructures are an asset and a prerequisite for improving traffic, especially public transport.
Mamoudou Mouctar: We want to draw on experiences from here and elsewhere. Niamey must now have a sustainable approach, whether in the field of urban mobility or in other sectors. They are many interesting international experiences concerning the regulation of car growth, the development of public transport and the improvement of the traffic conditions of the soft modes.
Mamoudou Mouctar: Whatever the sector of intervention, our cities must open up internationally to find the know-how and the skills to carry out actions allowing a sustainable urban development. In this sense, the City of Niamey wants to get involved in major international events. Niamey is the showcase of the cities of Niger and must be an example for these cities.
To find out more: CODATU mission in Niamey, November 2018