LILONGWE, Malawi 29th April, 2023 (AEJ) - Centre for Development Management (CDM), a national consulting facility, on Tuesday convened stakeholders in the non – motorised transport sector as a build up to the four-year USAID funded Bicycles for Growth that will increase mobility in rural and peri-urban areas by developing and demonstrating means to promote functional market systems that can increase bicycle access and uptake in Malawi. Bicycles for Growth Project will reduce barriers to the supply and uptake of fit for purpose, affordable and durable bicycles. The assessment and pilot projects will provide a roadmap to sustainable bicycle market systems and will leave behind a coalition of stakeholders who will continue to advocate for improved bicycle demand and govt support and bicycling. In his opening remarks during setting up for the locally driven Bicycles Market Systems Advisory Committee. CDM Managing Director, Dr Bright Sibale emphasized on a need to address the main constraints facing the bicycle systems in the country, both from the demand and supply side.
“We need to address the bottlenecks in accessing bicycles and their support services, including spare parts and access to finance to support the development of the bicycle market in the country. This is critical as it enhances the role bicycles play in the economic development of the country,” explained Dr Sibale in his inaugural opening speech.
The meeting in Lilongwe was attended by officials from the Roads Traffic department, Ministry of Health, Technical Vocational Entrepreneurship Education Training, Kabaza Cycles Association including other non-state actors who will form the sub-committees in the sectors of resources mobilization, training, advocacy policy and communication and monitoring and evaluation to feed the main bicycle system advisory committee.
The main advisory committee is expected to work with other key stakeholders at policy level to eliminate barriers to bicycle supply and uptake, strengthening the bicycle sector and providing the citizens with better access employment, health care, education and other services and opportunities.
We already have a database of all the operators in the bicycle transport system value chain. We know who operates from where and we now have identity cards that are also linked to the national identity cards,” says Moses Mwalabu, Executive Director of the Kabaza Cycles Association adding this project will only help to formalize the business now.
In a separate interview, Alfred Masokwe, a bicycle mechanic when told about the project welcomed the move saying it comes at the right time when they require as assortment of items to address challenges in the bicycle value chain.
“We need to have good pumps that are durable and capable of even assisting motor cycles as well. All these needs to made accessible and affordable because this is a major medium of transport for majority of Malawians in rural areas,” Masokwe explained. The bicycle market system consists of individuals and firms engaged in market exchange in bicycles through interaction of supply, demand and systems which facilitate that exchange by creating rules, supporting conditions and resources which facilitate that exchange.