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Used Cars: Second Life in Africa

Millions of used cars are shipped from Europe, the USA and Japan to developing countries every year. At second glance, affordable mobility is expensive.

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Million used cars were exported between 2015 and 2018.

There is a life after the end, at least in the automotive industry. Every year, millions of decommissioned cars, vans and minibuses make long journeys by ship around the globe: Between 2015 and 2018, the three largest exporters, the EU, Japan and the USA, have around 14 million used cars shipped, as reported by the United Nations Environment Program UNEP. Almost three quarters of the end-of-life vehicles traveled to developing and emerging countries, especially to Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia. 

Used cars from Europe, Japan and the USA are on the road in many poorer regions of the world.
Discarded cars from Europe, Japan and the USA are on the road in many poorer regions of the world.

What initially looks like affordable mobility for people in poorer regions turns out to be expensive at second glance: Many used cars have high fuel consumption and are not even suitable for traffic, which in turn increases the risk of accidents. In addition, there are a number of polluters among them: "A large number of vehicles do not meet current environmental standards, contribute significantly to air pollution and hinder efforts to mitigate climate change," according to the report. The United Nations is therefore calling for minimum standards for today's largely unregulated trade in end-of-life vehicles. Some African countries have already adopted stricter guidelines.

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