More than 96% of vehicles imported into Kenya are utilized ones. Its Ethiopian and Nigerian neighbours Ethiopia are among the largest importers of used automobiles. Actually given the current limited disposable income, Ethiopia's automotive sector is dominated by second-hand imported vehicles. Commercial automobiles represent the majority of Ethiopia's used imported vehicles. Approximately 85% automobiles in Ethiopia are second-hand imports, of which almost 90% are Toyotas, imported primarily in the Gulf States.
In lack of any regional or international agreements to regulate the circulation of vehicles that are used, the continent is currently becoming bombarded with polluting automobiles that are seldom more than a decade old. Only 10 African nations ban utilized vehicles over five years. In 24 other countries, regulations are weaker (for instance Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Benin and Democratic Republic of Congo) in which the state only bans vehicles which are 10 years and older than that.
The situation is even worse in countries such as Madagascar, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, where there is no age restrictions. Among the 50 nations in Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan and South Africa are the only to have completely banned the import of used vehicles.
The European companies have already begun to exploit weak fuel quality standards in African nations by exporting highly polluting "African Quality" fuels with sulphur levels 100 times above the European limitations. These companies are deliberately lowering the standard of fuels in order to increase profit margin at the cost of Africans' health. When the gas is burnt, the sulphur and other chemicals are released into the atmosphere, leading to respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis. These high-sulphur fuels destroy emission-reducing technologies in vehicles as well. The detectors and filters in automobiles become damaged and they start belching smoke.
The health cost of contamination is terrifying : between 1990 and 2013, yearly deaths from outside air pollution, mostly caused by dirty vehicles and electricity generation, increased by 36% to reach around 250 000. These illnesses assert one million African lives per year. Even more frightening, human and economic costs of air contamination in Africa are surpassing the expenses associated with unsafe sanitation or childhood malnutrition.