the framework of the National Congress on Public Transport, which took place in Lyon from 30th September to 2nd October 2015, CODATU organized a Roundtable on “International Cooperation: is it possible to accelerate the transition towards sustainable mobility in developping cities?” in order to discuss the role of french local bodies, companies, consultants, research centres etc… in the construction of sustainable urban models in southern countries.

CODATU mobilized four high-level experts to introduce their experiences and share the specific tools they implemented:

  • Loubna BOUTALEB, Executive Director of STRS, Rabat-Sale Tram Company (Morocco) introduced the Tramway project along with the value addition which came from the cooperation with SYTRAL, Greater Lyon and its partners (CEREMA, Town Planning Agencies, CODATU, etc.) This 4-year cooperation started in 2010 thanks to the financial support of AFD. The knowledge sharing between the French and Moroccan Teams helped STRS to structure themselves, according to the French model adapted to the Moroccan context, and to train their employees towards Project Management. For more information, download the presentation:


  • Hans VAN EIBERGEN, former Managing Director of SMTC in Grenoble, is now conducting a mission as a CODATU expert in order to set up a Transport Authority in Sfax (Tunisia) within the framework of the RRU project ( Euromed Road Rail and Urban Transport). The technical assistance, funded by the Euromed project, started in 2014 and has been renewed in 2015 with the objective of launching, during the next local elections, the first Transport Authority in Tunisia. Since 2004, the legislative framework in Tunisia provides for the implementation of Regional Transport Authorities (AROTT), although none has been created so far. The process of decentralisation needs time. The introduction of a long-term funding for the AROTT is a major question, which requires important reforms at the national level. For more information:
  • Etienne LHOMET, former Director of the Tramway in Bordeaux Metropolis, creator and director of “Des Villes et des hommes” consulting group for sustainable mobility (France) is involved with CODATU in a Technical Partnership between the city of Kochi (India), SYTRAL and Lyon Town Planning Agency. Etienne Lhomet introduced the challenges in terms of multi-modal integration in the context of the upcoming of a Metro System in 2017. This cooperation, funded by AFD, tries to adress those challenges, gathering the local partners and stakeholders during Workshops organized every two months. So far, several projects of place-making and multi-modal hubs have been identified.
  • Arnaud Dauphin, Project head in the Transport and Energy Department of the French Agency for Development (AFD), introduced AFD activities. Every year, AFD invests 8 billions euros in 90 countries. Around 15% of this budget is dedicated to Transport related projects. To support local bodies initiatives and promote knowledge sharing, AFD created a new tool (FEXTE) with help financing Technical Assistance to promote the development of sustainable projects. Training, capacity building and institutional structuring are at the heart of the projects. AFD takes support from various partners to provide Technical Assistance and bring concrete solutions to targeted areas (Tunisia, Perou, India…). For more information, download the presentation:

Conclusion of the discussions

Institutional and Financial challenges remain central to the current debate in most of the developing countries. A critical approach is essential in all projects in order to adapt to each context the french models of Transport planning (Transport authority, multi-modal integration…).

The creation of long-term funding solutions in the transport sector is most probably the biggest challenge. For instance, in Morocco, the Tram project was followed by a large operation of urban planning (Bouregred Valley) which could increase the financial profitability of the land. In Tunisia, the creation of a tax on Transport (similar to the French “Versement Transport”) is currently under discussion in the Transport and Finance Ministries, as a side measure of the AROTT initiative. Finally, all AFD supported projects emphasize on the importance to create an institutional and financial environment which will attract investments and be sustainable.

The rising presence of women in the Transport sector, as users and experts (recent trend in France and abroad) also provides a new perspective which can help the development of new nodels.

Major improvements have already been achieved, but there is a lot more to do to introduce sustainable mobility in developing countries. The french transport stakeholders can definitly help in meeting this challenge. The Roundtable showed that the human dimension is key to the success of all projects and that today, all the conditions are met to create new cooperations.