As Western countries shift to electric vehicles, the stream of used cars heading to West African ports is expected to increase. This diverts climate and environmental issues to vulnerable countries while undermining their efforts to reduce pollution. The global market for used vehicles grew nearly 20% from 2015 to 2019, with the US exporting about 18% of the world’s used cars. Gas-guzzling cars from the West are finding second lives in West Africa. Used vehicles are shipped to countries like Benin from wealthy nations such as the US, Japan, South Korea, and Europe. Benin is a top importer of used cars in Africa.

Demand for used cars in African countries is high due to limited access to credit, making new cars unaffordable. This demand is expected to rise further as the adoption of electric vehicles increases in the West, creating a surplus of used cars available for export. However, the quality of these cars is often declining, with older and more polluting vehicles being shipped. Weak regulations for vehicle emissions and safety in West Africa have allowed polluting and unsafe cars to enter the region. Efforts have been made to tighten regulations, but enforcement remains uncertain. Discussions are underway to regulate the export of old or junk cars to developing nations, but no concrete commitments have been made. Transitioning to electric vehicles could be a solution, but it requires significant improvements in charging infrastructure. For now, affordability remains the main factor influencing car purchases in West Africa, as seen in Fifa Park.