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A Recent Paper Explores Ghana’s Dependence on Used Vehicles

Between 2015 and 2018, the European Union, Japan, and the United States exported 14 million used vehicles worldwide. Forty percent of these went to African countries. Used vehicles serve real needs in the continent by supporting mobility and generating livelihoods for millions of people, including mechanics, sprayers, and other garage operators. But they also contribute to its public health and environmental problems through crashes and pollution. Africa’s dependency on used vehicles is often attributed to low incomes and weak regulation. The cost of new vehicles and limited access to loans put new vehicles beyond the financial reach of the majority. Environmental and public health protection standards against used vehicle harms are weak and poorly enforced in many African countries. The cost of repairing old vehicles, too, is relatively low. Together, these factors tend to elevate demand for used vehicles. And supply is ready because wealthy countries have stringent recycling policies. However, this is not the full picture.