Kenya to benefit from Sh13bn electric vehicles campaign

Ministry says the transport industry is growing rapidly in the country as it is globally

In Summary
  • There were 2,079 electric vehicles in Kenya as of June 2023 according to Epra. 
  • 1,500 were motorcycles, 181 station wagons, 176 tuk tuks and 20 electric buses. 
An electric mass transit bus is seen during its launch at Green Park terminus, Nairobi /FILE
An electric mass transit bus is seen during its launch at Green Park terminus, Nairobi /FILE

Kenya is among emerging markets set to benefit from a Sh13 billion drive electric campaign.

The IKEA Foundation has announced an investment of Sh13 billion ($100 million) to support a four-year initiative seeking to supercharge zero-emission road transportation across Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

The initiative is powered by the Drive Electric Campaign and hosted by ClimateWorks Foundation.

In March 2023, the Ministry of Roads and Transport launched Kenya's first Electric Mobility (e-mobility) Draft Policy to reduce emissions, lower operating costs, decrease reliance on imported fuels, and to create green jobs.

Roads and Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen said the policy will guide the development of electric mobility in all transportation modes—road, rail, air and maritime—by providing a transition framework from the use of conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.

According to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, there were 2,079 electric vehicles in Kenya as of June 2023.

1,500 were motorcycles, 181 station wagons, 176 tuk tuks and 20 electric buses. Currently, there are about five million fossil-fuel vehicles using Kenyan roads.

Drive Electric Programme Director Rebecca Fisher said the next several years present an opportunity for emerging markets to ‘leapfrog’ over dirty combustion vehicles to sustainable, zero-emission transportation.

“More work is needed to support an equitable global shift, and we see potential for the next wave of clean transportation frontrunners in Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, and South Africa. These countries have a robust mix of commitments to a clean energy transition, political will for climate-smart development policies, and favourable underlying economic and industrial development conditions,” she said.

She said the accelerated production and adoption of EVs of all types including cars, trucks, buses, two- and three-wheelers, is crucial to achieving global climate goals while reducing the inequality gap for communities in these countries.

“The co-benefits are enormous, from a more robust global economy to cleaner air, more affordable mobility, and stronger renewable energy grids. The Leapfrogging Partnership will integrate this work into an expanded strategy that resources more partners to engage with Drive Electric’s transformative approach,” Fisher said.

Road transportation accounts for more than half of global oil demand and is a fast-growing source of carbon emissions in many countries across Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

According to an analysis by BloombergNEF, the gap between leading and emerging markets could be as much as 45 per cent by 2040 ,measured in terms of the share of vehicle fleets composed of EVs.

The Traffic Index 2019 showed that Nairobi is ranked the worst city in Africa and fourth in the world on overall inefficiencies in its traffic system.

These traffic snarl-ups and congestion cost the economy Sh50 million in lost productivity everyday and have contributed to respiratory diseases being the leading cause of morbidity at 39 per cent of the total disease incidences in 2018.

The Index indicated that transport sector directly accounts for about 13 per cent of the country’s total emissions from transport and is growing faster than in any other sector.

Edgar van de Brug, Head of the IKEA Foundation’s Real Economy Portfolio, said tackling one of the largest sources of global emissions can drive powerful change.

“Decarbonising road transportation through electrification of vehicles of all transport modes is essential to decarbonising society. The Leapfrogging Partnership will accelerate the electric vehicle transition and drive a rapid reduction in emissions from road transport in the coming decades,” Van de Brug said.

The foundation notes that by 2050, most new vehicle demand growth will be in emerging economies.

"With the support of IKEA Foundation, the partnership will help save around 43 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) by 2050.The Leapfrogging Partnership will support local leaders in countries across Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia who are already seizing the opportunity to transition to electric vehicles.”

The IKEA Foundation is a strategic philanthropy that focuses its grant making efforts on tackling poverty and climate change, which are the two biggest threats to children’s futures.

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