Awful traffic

What is the most chaotic place on Earth? It has got to be Cotonou due to it’s 150 000 zemidjans in a city of one million people. And what is a zemidjan? It is a moto taxi usually driving recklessly and a profession for approximately every sixth or seventh person living in Cotonou. Zemis are also the source of massive amounts of exhaust gas in a city known to be one of the most poluted ones in West Africa. Not to mention the cause of death for numerous drivers and passengers every year (I‘ve never seen a zemi driver or a passenger wear a helmet in Benin, except for a few people that looked like American voluntary workers).

Busy streets and grey air of Cotonou by Jen

But guess what? The townhall of Cotonou has announced a new public transport system to be launched in the city in 2012. It will comprise 52 buses and over 200 bus stops. If this is really taking place, the buses will surely reduce the amount of zemidjans and their negative consequences in the city. The air in the city will hopefully be less grey and it’s habitants a little bit healthier.

But then again, how to find new jobs for the zemi drivers that will lose their clients to the buses?

More about this topic on Adjinakou (in French).

The get an idea about the traffic in Cotonou, take a look at the video on this blog.


4 thoughts on “Awful traffic

  1. Transportation in Cotonou is not a problem but the worries are thousands of zems polluting the already heavy, humid atmosphere, causing all kinds of health hazard. This makes it difficult for tourists and visitors to explore the city to their full satisfaction. Hope new transport plan to release 52 buses on the streets of Cotonou serving remote outskirts will be received by all as a palliative. Hope it’s not a seven day wonder.

  2. Related to transportation in Cotonou, Most Zems will lose their daily income but a solution could be found by creating pilot projects for these numerous youth that keep pouring into Cotonou daily seeking for greener pastures thus rendering the villages poor of valid hands needed for development. The land are there in the villages crying to be laboured for more food stuff on the market. These young energetic fellows need to be educated and trained to embrace their new “metier”. I read on a T-shirt of a zem as No. 152000 last July. If only one third could find their way back to the land, there should be abundance in food which we could export for foreign exchange reserve.

  3. Good point. I recently read that Benin imports food the satisfy the need of the population. It really surprises me.

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