Naturally on the day that Barack Obama was getting sworn in as the 44th president of the US, other interesting items in the world are going to get overlooked. This is a shame as the BBC reported that Cote d’Ivoire has started building their own buses within the country to serve the public transportation needs of the capital, Abidjan. I love stories like this as a) there are far too few of them and b) they show Africa in a wickedly unjust shades of war, rape, disease, and famine.
Taking the same line that we’ve been taking at Maneno, the engineers behind the buses (who are from the African “reaspora” *) had obvious reasons for building to their own specs:
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.
While portions of the drivetrain are coming from the European company Iveco, I feel it doesn’t steal any of the thunder of what they’re doing as most every vehicle producers these days has another company building parts of their products. In Cote d’Ivoire, domestic company, Sotra is doing the actual production of the buses. While there is some worry by citizens over the potential reliability of the buses:
If we import buses it’s better because we already know their endurance, the pros and cons, so really, I’m a bit hesitant about making buses here.
It’s probably not all that justified given that the history of Sotra has been in building “water buses” for use around Abidjan. Given the general layout of the town, it easy to see that these vehicles have been seriously put through their paces. Sure, there are undoubtedly going to be issues down the road, but I’m guessing they’ll be a lot less problematic than anything that happens from a standard GM vehicle. And if you don’t believe me on that point, go take a test drive of any new GM vehicle. I’ll take anything built, tested, and from Africa any day if I want reliability.
* Reaspora: Those who left their original countries, worked and were most likely educated abroad, but have now returned to their country of origin to work and ply their new skills and knowledge.