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The World Economic Forum has revealed that by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be living and operating in urban areas. Considering the resultant congestion and air pollution, which are already challenges requiring mitigation in 2019, mobility and energy should be top of mind for those making the shift towards cities of the future

Many cities globally have started to adopt smarter mobility solutions, and it is now more important than ever for South Africa and the rest of Africa to follow suit in order to remain competitive whilst providing sustainable and affordable living conditions for its citizens.

This is according to Ben Pullen, CEO at Generation.e, the team responsible for bringing the Smarter Mobility Africa summit in partnership with the Department of Transport and Gauteng Provincial Government to South Africa, taking place at the Sun Arena at Time Square on 1-2 October. “We are driven to bring much needed attention to the potential of smarter mobility in the creation of better connected and sustainable societies.”

Our speakers share this goal and will be highlighting current and future trends, insights and considerations to our visitors over the span of the two day event, says Pullen. “This will include real life cases and examples of how smarter mobility has addressed real world challenges as well as knowledge and experience sharing from thought leaders.”

The event will be officially opened by Roger Atkins, Founder of Electric Vehicles Outlook (UK) and 702 host and presenter, Azania Mosaka and they will be joined by more than 100 experts talking pertinent issues throughout the summit.

For example, Tim Abbott, CEO: BMW Group South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, and Jacob Mamabolo, MEC: Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure – Gauteng Provincial Government, will be discussing how rapid urbanisation has created a need for smarter mobility solutions to address congestion, pollution and traffic accidents. During this session, they look at the past, the present and the future of mobility in Africa and will discuss how African cities could become more socially just, progressive, and enjoyable.

Andrew Kirby, President and CEO of Toyota South Africa Motorswill talk to how the automotive industry is undergoing a radical transformation, with most carmakers agreeing that the next 10 years will bring more change than the previous century. His driving question will be: how are car manufacturers gearing up to support the transition to smarter mobility globally?

Further to this, Dr Martyn Davies, Director and Managing Director of Emerging Markets & Africa at Deloittewill be discussing how a dramatic move away from Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles is expected to happen by 2025 with plug-in EVs replacing them. He will look at the socio-economic impact of electrification of the transport sector on primarily the automotive and oil industry, as well as power sectors.

Lisa Conibear, Business Manager for The Shell Foundation says despite its environmental benefits, the amount of smarter mobility options and EV use in Africa is still very limited. Slow penetration in developing countries and countries with emerging markets might be explained by certain factors that discourage vital investment into new and emerging mobility solutions. In her session, she will address limitation to investment of smarter mobility and EV adoption, assess opportunities related to unlocking proactive investment from potential fiscal and non-fiscal incentive programmes to innovative subsidies through national smart mobility and EV programmes.

Vuyisile Majola, Head of SANTACO Gauteng Business will talk to how, in big African cities, informal paratransit services are responsible for the majority of public transport ridership, accounting for over 70% of all transit rides. These on-demand minibus services in sub-Saharan African cities provide affordable and accessible mobility and have become an integral part of the African urban culture. However, she says the industry should move with the times and look at the potential solutions available today and in the future to drive more reliable, efficient, affordable, and cleaner paratransit systems for Africa.

Colin McKerracher, Head of Advanced Transport for BloombergNEF will deliver a presentation on the global outlook for the electric vehicle market. This session will look at EV sales trends, policies, the outlook for battery prices and the impact of disruptive mobility services on the overall car market.

Country manager of Bolt South Africa, Gareth Taylor, wants to talk to delegates about public/private partnerships that can be formed to enable SA to keep pace with other leaders in mobility. He will focus on the future of transport, noting that EVs will be changing the transport industry long before autonomous vehicles come into play. He believes that convenient and affordable Mobility-as-a-Service is already enabling progress, and that the local environment is already embracing this trend’s potential.

With big name blue-chips like Siemens, Nissan, and Jaguar, sharing the stage, uYilo’s Hiten Parmar is ready to talk about the innovation and trends that will be completely new to some attendees. Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X), the circular economy for EV batteries and holistic energy management for the charging of EVs are top of the mind along with the need for resilient charging infrastructure solutions. Parmar says now is the time to paint the picture of the mobility future we want to see and many elements must take a space on the canvas.

“All of these esteemed speakers will be bringing their A game to the summit with educated and detailed insights shared,” says Pullen. “We’re looking forward to lively panel discussions, keynote talks and debates – disagreements, even – but most importantly, we hope delegates leave each session with a different way of seeing the future of mobility in South Africa.”