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Africa Must Set and Own its Electric Vehicle Agenda

The future of transportation appears to be electric. More and more people across the globe are opting for electric vehicles and the industry is undeniably on a positive trajectory. The African continent is also part of this growing electric-powered transport wave. Several African countries such as Kenya and Rwanda have adopted tax incentives to encourage electric vehicle imports and are working on developing their own electric two- and three-wheelers. In many African cities, minibuses are the main mode of public transport, complemented by motorcycles. It is estimated that some 90 percent of urban air pollution in developing countries is attributable to vehicle emissions. Furthermore, emissions from transport-related sources are a major cause of chronic respiratory-related illnesses and premature deaths in Africa. Thus, the efforts to increase the use of electric vehicles are a welcome strategy to decarbonise transport and improve air quality in African urban centres. There are, however, several issues that African countries need to address to be able to reap the benefits of the electric vehicle movement. Before taking further steps towards transitioning to electrical vehicles, African governments need to answer some important questions.