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LESSONS: How Rwanda and Ethiopia car-free days work

Rwandan capital Kigali became the first Africa country to introduce car-free days in 2016. Two years later, Ethiopia introduce a once-a-month car free day across her cities.

The two countries however have a different approach to the one Nairobi wants to implement.

In Ethiopia, the initiative is steered by the  Ministry of Health to promote physical exercise among residents while creating awareness on pollution by cars.  It is a time for people to walk and cycle around the streets with no cars

Kigali holds its car-free days for two Sundays every month. Streets are routinely closed for pedestrians and cyclists to exercise.

Nairobi’s proposal has two days a week when selected streets will be shutdown for motorists but be open to pedestrians and hawkers.

The International Car-Free Day is marked on September 22 across the world with most countries’ sole purpose being to create awareness on pollution while advocating for walking and cycling as forms of exercises.

The most recent car-free day in Kigali was held on January 20.

Ethiopia’s second car-free day was marked on January 13 and all major towns participated by having no cars in the central business districts.