Op Ed

December 7, 2018
WEF: Is sub-Saharan Africa ready for the electric vehicle revolution?
By Katie Hill, Rose Mutiso, Rebekah Shirley

Originally posted on World Economic Forum. 

Africa is urbanizing faster than any other continent, at a rate of 4% every year, compared to the global average of 2%. Its rapidly growing urban population continues to strain existing infrastructure – transport and energy, in particular.

Firstly, sub-Saharan Africa’s transport is almost entirely fuel-based. This creates a cost burden for citizens and a fiscal burden for countries. In Nairobi, residents spend 14-30% of their income on transport. To protect consumers from ever increasing fuel prices, African governments heavily subsidize fuels, at an average cost of 1.4% GDP.

This is where electric vehicles (EVs) come in. Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries urgently need a transport alternative to stave off the growing burden of fuel dependency and subsidies, as well as an electricity storage solution to leverage their abundant renewable energy resources. EVs, powered by electricity and running on battery storage, offer a potential solution to both these problems. Furthermore, as EVs produce no direct emissions through the exhaust pipe, they can improve the air quality of Africa’s congested cities.

Read the rest on World Economic Forum.

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