Rwanda set to take the lead on e-transportation in Africa

As part of efforts to cut fuel costs and protect the environment, the Government of Rwanda has announced plans to issue a national policy guideline to eliminate gas motorcycles in its taxi sector. 

While speaking at a youth forum last week, President Paul Kagame previewed the plan and urged taxi-motor operators to help in the phase-out process when the time comes.

FILE - A passenger rides on a moto-taxi in Kigali, Rwanda, July 30, 2017. Rwanda is introducing electric motorcycles, with more than 600 being built for use in the country.
A passenger rides on a fuel-powered moto-taxi in Kigali, Rwanda.

The Director-General for the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority, Patrick Nyirishema, confirmed the president’s comments were ahead of a national e-mobility plan in the works for the East African technology hub. “The president’s announcement is exactly the policy direction we’re in…it’s about converting to electric motors…The policy is prepared, it’s yet to be passed…and is going through the approval process,” Nyirishema told newsmen.

He added that converting to e-motorcycles is part of a national strategy to move Rwanda’s entire mobility space to electric as the country will start with public transit operators, such as motor-taxis, and move to buses and automobiles.

Ampersand Africa e motorcycle
Photo credits: TechCrunch

For the country’s Director General of Environment Management Authority, Colleta Ruhamya, he explains that this is another major milestone for Rwanda, as they aim to become a major player in the global environmental protection movement.  

A major player that could participate in this move would be Ampersand—founded in 2016 by four entrepreneurs from different countries with a mission to transform Rwanda into a mass market for commercial electric motorcycles. According to the company’s CEO, Josh Whale, the potential in Rwanda is huge as the East African Nation is known for environmental initiatives and the electricity grid is sufficiently reliable in Kigali.

There are two charging stations in Kigali and a motor-taxi driver has to bring an exhausted battery to take a charged one, which runs for 70 kilometres (43 miles)— the price for recharging an electric vehicle is equal to the cost of the fuel for traditional cycles.

This is interesting news for the motorcycle taxi market in Africa, reportedly worth about $4 billion, that has seen a lot of investment and expansion.

Opeyemi Olugbemiro

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