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Green Tech Startups are Leading Africa’s Charge towards Electric Mobility

South Africa sold only 92 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in 2020, down from 154 in 2019, representing 0.02% of domestic vehicle sales. Hybrid sales declined from 253 units in 2019 to 232 units in 2020.  Nonetheless, several countries are developing comprehensive policy frameworks to catalyse the transition and adoption of electric mobility. Jane Akumu, a programme officer with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), says that while Africa trails other parts of the world in e-mobility, the continent is awakening to the opportunities in the EV market, especially in electric two- and three-wheelers where there is potential for green jobs, local manufacturing and assembly, cleaner renewable energy, and business opportunities in charging and battery swapping. UNEP, through its Global E-Mobility programme, has been helping African countries to come up with the right policies to switch from fossil fuel mobility to electric mobility. Some 19 countries have allocated part of their Global Environment Facility funding to electric mobility but UNEP would like to see more countries and cities make clearer pronouncements such as the dates when they will phase out internal combustion engine vehicles.