The renewable energy revolution has reached the Global South. According to Afrik 21, the second-hand vehicle market in Africa is rapidly growing, and there is an increasing interest in transitioning to electric transportation.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the world’s primary destination for used vehicles, with countries like Nigeria, Libya, Tanzania, Guinea, and Ghana leading the market. Toyota (Japan) and Hyundai (South Korea) are the most popular used car brands in Africa. However, Africa’s car fleet is becoming outdated, and used car imports worsen the economic situation in most countries.
To address these challenges, Africa is aiming to achieve self-sufficiency. East Africa, in particular, is at the forefront of this transition, with start-ups involved in the assembly of electric tricycles, motorcycles, taxis, and buses. Notable examples include BasiGo in Kenya and Ampersand in Rwanda.
Governments are also playing their part by reducing import duties and supporting the development of transport infrastructure. For instance, Senegal is launching a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system to alleviate traffic congestion in Dakar, which causes significant economic losses. Additionally, Côte d’Ivoire plans to establish Abidjan’s first metro line with electric traction by 2024, benefiting 540,000 people.
To finance projects aimed at decarbonizing the transport sector, venture capitalists and development partners are providing significant funding. Multiple organizations, including Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), African Development Bank (AfDB), and International Finance Corporation (IFC), have pledged substantial amounts to support green mobility in Africa.
Local oil companies are also contributing to the cause by installing charging stations for electric vehicles. For instance, Algeria’s Sonelgaz and Naftal are collaborating to establish 1,000 charging stations. TotalEnergies has commissioned charging stations in Kenya, while Tesla has expanded its Supercharger network in Morocco.
Morocco has Africa's first Tesla charging stations.
Two Tesla superchargers were opened in Casablanca and Tangier on October 1, 2021.
Tesla currently has 4 charging stations in Morocco.
The chargers were built in Morocco. pic.twitter.com/TfXrGyXg8C
— Africa Facts Zone (@AfricaFactsZone) April 26, 2022
Battery factories are also being planned in countries like Morocco, Mozambique, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, the slow implementation of these projects raises skepticism among analysts, who believe Africa’s energy transition relies too heavily on Asia and Europe.
Several countries, including Togo, Rwanda, and Tunisia, are implementing measures to support electric vehicles, such as exempting customs duties or reducing taxes on charging equipment.
In terms of battery recycling, Nexus, a Global Automotive Aftermarket company, is preparing for end-of-life battery recycling. Nexus, which organized the “One Africa Business Summit” in Cairo, operates in emerging markets worldwide and is expected to make a significant impact in Africa.
As used vehicle imports to Africa increase, there will likely be a need for battery recycling when these vehicles transition from internal combustion engines to EVs. Initiatives are already underway in South Africa for the recycling of lithium-ion batteries. Regulations similar to those in the EU and the USA may need to be established in African countries to prevent developed nations from exporting the recycling task to ill-prepared countries.
With the clean energy push becoming a worldwide phenomenon, a healthy environment is in our future.