Commuters in Ivory Coast can now travel around town on the first ever buses designed for and built in the region.
The engineering arm of the national transport company, Sotra, decided it could save money and create a bus better suited to African conditions.
"We want the transfer of technology in Africa, and we want to build our own buses with our own specification," says Sotra Industries director Mamadou Coulibaly.
This is a great development. However I have a problem with this statement:
"In Europe the technology is very sophisticated with lots of electronic devices. In Africa we don't need this.
"We just need robust buses because our roads are not very well done like in Europe. This is an African design for Africa."
This is a bad attitude. While I am all for simplicity in engineering. Saying that Africans don't need (or want) "sophistication" is bad.
Public buses in Abidjan are extremely popular and are frequently tightly packed despite the sweltering heat and lack of air-conditioning.
It's not true that if you're in a civil war you can't do things because you see yourself that during the crisis we tried to build big projects
Sotra's Mamadou Coulibaly
The new urban bus has fewer seats than a Western bus, meaning up to 100 people can be squeezed inside.
"I think it's a good thing. It'll help students to move about in more comfort," says Isaac Gueu, who is studying accountancy in Abidjan.
I didn't see it mentioned but I hope that air conditioning was not one of those "sophisticated electronics" that the company thinks is not necessary.
Anywauy beside that "sophistication" nit pick. This is a good development.