Zimbabwe ready to transition to electric mobility

Zimbabwe’s new E-Mobility Policy and Market Readiness Framework and a roadmap for raising awareness presented at Harare workshop

July 29, 2022

How to transition the transport sector, which produces 22% of greenhouse gas emissions in Zimbabwe to a green electric future, was the focus of an E-Mobility Stakeholder Awareness Workshop held on the 30th June 2022.

The event was the accumulation of an 18-month process to produce a National E-Mobility Policy and Market Readiness Framework, a National E-Mobility Roadmap, and a Market Feasibility Study for Intracity E-buses in Harare. It was hosted by the Government of Zimbabwe with support from UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre (UNEP-CCC) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) and brought together stakeholders from Government Ministries, industry, academia and regulators.

Click here to download the National E-Mobility Policy and Market Readiness Framework.

Transforming the transport sector

The National E-Mobility Policy and Market Readiness Framework aims to transform Zimbabwe’s transport sector into a modern, sustainable, forward-looking and results-driven sector, while directly contributing to the Government’s Vision 2030 and existing national commitments.

It was produced under the guidance of the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, the Ministry of Energy and Power Development and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development to provide a ten-year roadmap to decarbonize transport and move to electric transport systems.

Munashe Mukonoweshuro,  giving the opening remarks on behalf of Washington Zhakata, Director of the Climate Change Management Department, said in an opening statement, “The concept of electric mobility is fast evolving across the globe and as a country, we cannot be lagging. It involves issues of productivity and entrepreneurship, flexibility in labour markets, economic progression, and an overall culture of innovation.”

“We come here today to deliberate on entry points for climate-smart infrastructure, technology development and transfer, investment opportunities and how to create an enabling environment for the adoption and deployment of electric vehicles in Zimbabwe.  National and private sector support are essential to adapt and bridge the gap between development in the transport sector and climate action,” he added.

A strong signal to investors

The Framework, which will be presented to Cabinet this year for final adoption, is a critical step in demonstrating the country’s commitment to achieving its targets under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

During the workshop, Jyoti  Painuly, Senior Researcher at UNEP-CCC, who has overseen the E-Mobility Project in Zimbabwe, highlighted that there was growing momentum in Africa as more countries started to put the policies in place for this shift.  He said UNEP-CCC was pleased that the development of the Policy Framework and Roadmap involved working with a large network of stakeholders successfully and that adoption of the framework would signal Zimbabwe joining the leading countries on e-mobility in Southern Africa.

Linking to climate action for funding

Rahul Bagdia, the managing director of pManifold, an India-based consulting company with extensive experience in the E-mobility policy sector, provided an overview of the E-Mobility Policy and Market Readiness Framework.

“It is important that we create the right fiscal incentives needed to offset the initial higher capital cost of electric vehicles, but in the long run we know they produce much greater savings in the cost of fuel and maintenance and most importantly in reducing air pollution and carbon emissions, “he said.

From the CTCN, Regional Manager for Africa, West Asia and CIS Rajiv Garg pointed out that green financing for E-mobility in Africa was growing and that each country has to demonstrate how a particular project will impact the climate crisis to access funding. He encouraged the participants at the workshop and other stakeholders from Zimbabwe to explore these possibilities to help fund the transition.

Feasibility for e-buses

In addition to the Framework, a Market Feasibility Study for Intracity E-buses in Harare was produced which proposes an initial pilot project deploying 50 E-buses in Harare. The study, produced in close consultation with ZUPCO and CMED, proposes to electrify Willowvale Depot in Harare and deploy 50 Non-AC high floor standard 12-metre long e-buses which would cover three main intra-city routes.

The study along with a proposal will be submitted to key climate multi-lateral funds such as the Global Climate Fund and Global Environment Facility, to seek financial and technical support to catalyse the transition to a greener transportation system for Zimbabwe.

Karthick Athmanathan, Senior VP and Head of Business Unit for electric vehicles and e-mobility at Ashok Leyland, reinforced how a strong policy and regulatory framework was critical to the industry along with confidence-building steps for them to leverage long-term investments needed to transition to e-mobility in Southern Africa.

Mobility for Africa was a part of the consortium that produced the Policy Framework, and CEO Shantha Bloemen joined the workshop stating “this policy framework can allow Zimbabwe to become a leader in the shift to electric mobility in the SADC region. The country has a strong tradition in vehicle assembly, a large network of universities, technical colleges and a young, educated population that can be deployed to make this transition happen, and contribute to economic and social development by creating new jobs and skills”.

Mr Munyaradzi, representing the Motor Industry Association of Zimbabwe, emphasised the need for catalysing and promoting electric vehicle component production locally, and establishing needed value chain, opportunities for which are immense through research and development in Zimbabwean institutions.