We were inching along Ngong Road, one of the major roads in Kenya that links Nairobi to Ngong town. Even at 3 in the afternoon, the traffic leading out of the capital was packed with commuters. Street-hawkers use this slowness to their advantage, going from window to window selling everything from mosquito rackets and packets of groundnuts to floor lamps and jigsaw puzzles. It is not uncommon to be stuck in traffic for 2 hours over distances that should only take 15 to 20 minutes on clear roads. “This is why I prefer boda-bodas,” I jabbed at my friend, knowing how she feels about motorbikes. They may be excellent for weaving in and out between vehicles, but notorious for not always getting riders to their destinations in one piece. Anyone who has ever been on the continent would understand that traffic here operates differently– the regard for human life is simply on a different level. I’ve seen a matatu (bus) cross highway barriers to drive against opposing traffic only to knock over an oncoming motorbike.
- Get a daily email packed with the latest China-Africa news and analysis.
- Read exclusive insights on the key trends shaping China-Africa relations.
- Connect with leading professionals on the China- Africa Experts Network.