By Zulfah Namatovu

in Kampala

Technology and innovation experts have expressed optimism that Uganda can start commercial production of electric mobile passenger vehicles by 2040. Already , Uganda’s automotive flagship , Kiira Motors Corporation are producing the fully electric Kayoola EVS buses .

Experts made the projection during an Energy and Electric Mobility Conference convened by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to mark the 19th Annual Energy and Minerals Week 2023 at the Munyonyo Commonwealth Speke Resort in Kampala.

Dr. Monica Musenero, the Minister of Science Technology, and Innovations said that electric mobility is currently a USD 15 trillion growing industry globally which is projected to be USD 26.6 trillion by 2030.

Statistically, there were 1.2 million vehicles sold in Africa in 2017, and given the continent’s growing population, the sales are projected to be 10 million by 2030. In East Africa, there were 257,000 vehicle sales in 2015, and is projected to be 630,000 by 2030.

Specifically, in Uganda, by 2020 , 42,000 vehicles were imported, and the number is projected to reach 90,000 by 2030.

Dr. Musenero challenged electric mobility solution providers in Uganda to tap into the global market of sustainable transportation to break the dominance of Asia and the global north .

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative for Uganda, Elsie Attafuah says that the discovery of commercially viable deposits of electric vehicle minerals, particularly lithium, cobalt, and nickel, Uganda is capable of achieving the ambitious green transport system.

The UNDP and GIZ, a German Development Agency launched e-mobility cars to be used at their country coordination offices to show support to more than 50 low-and-middle-income countries including Uganda with the shift from fossil fuel to electric vehicles.

Attafuah reasons that climate change is a compelling global development challenge that calls for decarbonization, the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through the use of low-carbon power sources to greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

Students pose for a picture in front of Uganda’s premium product the Kayoola EVS during the science week

Richard Bamujje, in charge of Electric Mobility at MotorCare Uganda, says climate change activists are pushing the demand for electric vehicles in Uganda and globally despite growing fears of the high market price compared to the ice-engine cars that use petrol and diesel.

Bamujje explains that the cost of an e-mobility vehicle such as a Nissan model in Uganda currently ranges between USD 57,000 (about 214.9 million Shillings) and USD 98,000 (about 369.5 million Shillings).

Eng. Irene Pauline Bateebe, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, said that Uganda is committed to cutting emissions and adapting to climate smart solutions like electric vehicles after submitting its Nationally Determined Contributions – NDC in September 2022.

The NDC, an updated climate action plan projects that the transport sector’s greenhouse emissions – GHG emissions will more than double by 2030 with the energy and transport sector contributing 10.7% of the total emissions.

But Bateebe highlighted the mitigation measures in Uganda’s NDC which include the shift to electric cars, road infrastructure development to allow for such transition , deployment of charging infrastructure, electrification of the railway system, and transfer of oil through the oil pipeline instead of road freight among others.

The use of electric vehicles is seen as a potential solution to Uganda’s air pollution problems and its dependence on imported fossil oil. Currently, the pioneers of e-mobility in Uganda national automakers Kiira Motors Corporation, Zembo and Bodawerk among others.

In October, the government launched Energy Policy 2023 to scale up access to electricity for households, refugee and host communities, industrial parks, commercial enterprises, and public institutions, so as to spur socio-economic transformation, in line with Uganda’s Vision 2040.

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