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Kigali’s Switch to Green Vehicles

Ampersand is a startup pioneering Rwanda’s switch to electric vehicles and hopes that over the next five years almost all of Rwanda’s motorbikes will be electric. It is an ambitious dream – there are around 25,000 motorbike taxis operating in Kigali, some driving up to 10 hours a day, often covering hundreds of kilometres daily. Ampersand says that savings on fuel and maintenance can double a driver’s income. With an estimated five million motorbikes on the roads of East Africa, there could be big savings in CO2 emissions if Ampersand and its rivals take a significant share of the market. Ampersand is more than just a technology platform. It assembles the motorbikes, the batteries and has set up charging stations. Resource wealth can have a devastating impact. Oil-exporting nations such as Nigeria, Venezuela, Angola and DRC have seen livelihoods and economies devastated, but there have been many countries throughout history, such as Norway, Canada and Botswana who have bucked the curse through strong state management and institutions that can stand against corruption.