Scania has signed an agreement with the Ivorian Ministry of Transport and Abidjan transport company, SOTRA to deliver 450 buses.

The bus delivery forms part of a major initiative to upgrade SOTRA’s fleet and improve public transport in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

“With this agreement, Scania further strengthens its position in West Africa as a provider of sustainable solutions for urban mobility,” said Scania head of Buses and Coaches, Anna Carmo e Silva.

“Over the past few years, Scania has successfully participated in improving urban mobility in Ghana and Nigeria. Based on that experience, we now look forward to a long-term partnership in providing better public transport services also in Abidjan.”

The agreement includes upgrading bus depots and vocational training of drivers and service technicians. Scania, in collaboration with Agence Nationale d’Appui au Développement Rural (ANADER), has initiated a feasibility study funded by Swedfund, the Swedish Development Finance Institution, to assess the opportunities for producing local biofuels from agricultural waste from cocoa, rubber and banana cultivation.

Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s largest cocoa producer.

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Scania will supply 400 low-entry 13-metre buses and 50 18-metre articulated buses, bodybuilt by Marcopolo.

The articulated buses will be fuelled by compressed gas. The buses will partly be deployed along the Boulevard Latrille Bus Rapid Transit system, which will form part of a future BRT system in Abidjan.

It is estimated the population of Greater Abidjan will increase to 7.7m by 2030. By expanding public transport services through BRT, the aim is two-thirds of the residents in 2030 will have access to the city centre within an hour.

A group of Swedish and French companies, as well as institutions, are presently engaged in sustainable public transport initiatives in Abidjan. Team Sweden with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Business Sweden, Swedfund, the Swedish Export Credit Agency, EKN and the Swedish Export Credit Corporation, SEK, have supported with capacity building and financing.

“With these partnerships and joint efforts, we can contribute to finding sustainable, innovative and attractive solutions for Côte d’Ivoire and other countries in the region,” said Business Sweden CEO & president, Ylva Berg.

For her part, Business Sweden regional director for West Africa, Anthonia Huard, added: “Côte d’Ivoire has demonstrated an impressive economic growth these latest years and has now started investing in a stronger infrastructure for continued growth.”