Ban today inaugurated the first Africa Sustainable Transport Forum in Nairobi, which brings together ministers from more than 40 African countries to study measures to tackle the growing transport crisis on the continent.
"More than half of Africans have no choice but to walk long distances, sometimes in conditions of great insecurity, to go to work, schools or hospitals," lamented the UN leader, who is organizing the meeting together with the World Bank (WB).
Ban stressed that, now that Africa is building its great continental transport network, it is the ideal time to create a strategy that allows its development to be sustainable.
"This is a good opportunity to create a good transport connection throughout Africa," he said.
Not surprisingly, he recalled that 7 million people die prematurely every day from air pollution, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
"Driving more vehicles means increasing emissions," he warned, before encouraging African leaders to follow the example of "countries and cities around the world that are showing how transport can be sustainable."
Ban, who already traveled to Nairobi last July to preside over the first United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), stressed that initiating a transition towards sustainable transport in Africa is "crucial" to fight climate change and achieve development goals beyond 2015.
The UN leader stressed that "Africa is growing fast," but warned that this development must be coupled with greater private capital to promote sustainable and efficient transport.
For his part, the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, called for this sustainable transport strategy to take into account that African countries must receive more investment to integrate into the world market, improve regional security and boost trade in countries without exit Sea.
"Africa is growing fast and our people want more economic and social development. Our plans cannot disappoint the aspirations of the people," he said.
East Africa should coordinate its transportation plans to boost regional trade, according to Kenyatta, who at the beginning of his speech asked for a minute of silence for the death last Sunday of Zambian President Michael Sata of Zambia.
The Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Achim Steiner, invited African powers to begin the development towards "green economies".
He defended a sustainable transport strategy to also improve the well-being of the majority of African citizens: "We must solve the problems of those who do not have to buy a car. Africa can send a message to the world in this regard."
Delegates from 42 African countries debate at the UN headquarters in Nairobi a framework to regulate polluting emissions, urbanization, road safety and clean fuels.