Technology and innovation experts have expressed optimism that Uganda can start commercial production of electric mobile passenger vehicles by 2040.
The experts made the projection during the Efficiency and Electric Mobility Conference 2023 convened by the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to mark the 19th annual Energy Week 2023 at the Munyonyo Commonwealth Speke Resort in Kampala on Tuesday.
Speaking at the summit, Dr Monica Musenero, minister of Science Technology and Innovations said that electric mobility is currently a $15 trillion growing industry globally which is projected to be $26.6 trillion by 2030. Statistically, there were 1.2 million vehicles sold in Africa in 2017, and given the continent’s growing population, the sales are projected to be 10 million by 2030.
In East Africa, there were 257,000 vehicle sales in 2015, and this is projected to be 630,000 by 2030. Specifically, in Uganda, by 2020, at least 42,000 vehicles were imported, and the number is projected to be 90,000 by 2030. Musenero challenged electric mobility solution providers in Uganda to tap into the global market of sustainable transportation to break the dominance of Asia and North America.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative for Uganda, Elsie Attafuah says that the discovery of commercially viable deposits of minerals, particularly lithium, cobalt, and nickel used in electric vehicle manufacturing, Uganda is capable of achieving the ambitious green transport system.
The UNDP and GIZ, a German Development Agency launched e-mobility cars to be used at their country coordination offices to show support to more than 50 low-and-middle-income countries including Uganda with the shift from fossil fuel to electric vehicles.
Speaking to URN, Attafuah reasons that climate change is a compelling global development challenge that calls for decarbonization, the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through the use of low-carbon power sources to greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
Richard Bamujje, in charge of electric mobility at MotorCare Uganda, says climate change activists are pushing the demand for electric vehicles in Uganda and globally despite growing fears of the market price for the ice-engine cars as opposed to those that consume petrol and diesel.
Bamujje explains that the cost of an e-mobility vehicle such as a Nissan model in Uganda currently ranges between $57,000 (about Shs 214.9 million) and $98,000 (about Shs 369.5 million).
Meanwhile, Irene Pauline Bateebe, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, says Uganda committed herself to cutting emissions and adapting to climate impacts after submitting Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) in September 2022.
The NDC, an updated climate action plan projects that the transport sector's greenhouse emissions (GHG) emissions will more than double by 2030 with the energy and transport sector contributing 10.7 per cent of the total emissions. According to Bateebe, the mitigation measures in the NDC include the shift to electric cars, road infrastructure development, electrification of the railway system, and transfer of oil through the oil pipeline instead of road freight among others.
The use of electric vehicles is seen as a potential solution to Uganda's air pollution problems and its dependence on imported fossil oil. Currently, the pioneers of e-mobility in Uganda include Zembo, Bodawerk, and Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC).
In October, the government launched Energy Policy 2023 to scale up access to electricity for households, refugee and host communities, industrial parks, commercial enterprises, and public institutions, so as to spur socio-economic transformation, in line with Uganda’s Vision 2040.