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The Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Kenya

Wheels of Change: Establishing best practices in the urban motorcycle taxi sector in Sub-Saharan Africa

EP-2019-MAC-07, Associate Professor Patrick Hayombe



In the last 20 or so years motorcycle taxis (MCTs) – and more recently motor tricycle taxis - have fundamentally changed mobility and access in urban (and rural) Sub-Saharan African. In many African cities motorcycle taxis - often referred to as Okadas in West Africa or Boda Bodas in East Africa - are responsible for the majority of transport movements of both people and goods and providing hundreds of thousands of jobs to low-skilled or marginalised youth. However, rental, ownership and operational models can differ significantly from one region or country to the other. So does the role and impact of motorcycle taxi unions, with some being no more than ‘cartels’ exploiting their members while others genuinely advocating for the operators’ wellbeing and livelihoods. Equally, responses of city councils vary considerably, ranging from working together with operators and unions to regulate the sector and promote health and safety, to outright banning (albeit often unsuccessful) commercial motorcycle riding. There seems to be a clear need and opportunity here to learn (different) ‘good practices and pathways to those practices’ from the various stakeholders (MCT operators, unions, city council, traffic police, MCT users). Our project will do just that.

As a collaboration between universities and research institutions in five different SSA countries (Liberia, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) we will be able to capture a wide range of MCT related practices and modi operandi. Each of the institutions involved will conduct a standardised survey and qualitative interviews covering issues related to four of the five clusters (user needs; governance & politics; business models and; safety & health). This will allow to effectively share knowledge and experiences at a workshop to be held in Kenya. The ‘lessons learned’ shall then be taken back to the respective countries and shared with local and national stakeholders.

Patrick Hayombe is an Associate Professor and currently the Dean School of Spatial Planning and Natural Resource Management at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST).

Formerly Deputy Director Applied Water Research, Kenya Water Institute (KEWI) 2006-2010 and Physical Planning Officer in the Ministry of Lands and Settlement 1990-2010 Patrick Hayombe is currently a Primary Investigator with Sustainable Development Programme 2018 of British Academy of Science-Whose Heritage Matters, Making and Mobilising Heritage Values for Sustainable Livelihoods in Cape Town and Kisumu.

Patrick Hayombe is a research fellow with Mistra Urban Futures -Kisumu Local Interaction Platform (KLIP) serving as a Project Leader in Ecotourism 2010-2017 and Social-cultural Track 2017 to date. Has served as a Project Director for USAID/SERVIR AFRICA/RCMRD: Capacity Building Geo-spatial solutions for County Governments in Resilience to Climate Change 2015-2016 and finally was a Co-Researcher with Consuming Urban Poverty with African Urban Studies Cape University (DFID) 2016-2017 (Urban Food Systems Governance and Poverty in African Cities). Hayombe is a Corporate Member of Kenya Institute of Planners (KIP) since 2001, Lead Expert Environmental Impact Assessment of National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA-Kenya), 2005, Quality Auditor ISO 9001: 2000 Kenya Bureau of Standards (KBS) and Member of Africa-GIS and Kenya GIS Chapter.

He has a wide university teaching experience, supervision of postgraduate students and curriculum development in spatial planning and environmental management since 2010. He has done research and published in refereed journals in areas of spatial and environmental planning, ecotourism, cultural heritage, urban agriculture and food security. Also consulting with Pre-Envero in the preparation of Siaya County Spatial Plan since 2015 and has been involved in various community outreach programmes to disseminate some of the research findings. 

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Call for Project Proposals Pdf, 402.9 kB.

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