Transportation in most of Africa is rudimentary. Most people walk to markets, schools, and health facilities, often carrying needed items on their heads or shoulders. However, bicycles and animal-drawn carts are increasingly available in rural communities. The use of motorized vehicles is mostly limited to cities and intercity traffic by buses and trucks. Throughout the continent, smallholder farmers are unlikely to afford motor vehicles. Bus and train travel is within the means of most people and they are used especially for long-distance travel.
The quality and connectivity of African roads and railroads remain poor: Most roads are made of dirt or gravel, and good quality all-weather roads are limited. Colonial rulers laid railroad tracks to connect ports to export-producing areas in the interior, and these networks have been largely unexpanded since independence. Few roads and tracks cross international boundaries in Africa. The poor condition and disjointedness of the road and rail networks have hindered African economic development. South Africa, with higher-quality roads and a greater degree of road and rail connectivity, is a notable exception.
Many African countries operate national airlines. South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana have well-developed airline systems for domestic, international, and intercontinental flights and hence one of the best facilities for transportation in Africa.