by John Msingo
The Africa Climate Summit, which occurred in Nairobi last week, was a big deal meant to show that Africa was taking control of the narrative on climate change because African nations contribute to about 4% of the world’s greenhouse emissions but suffer the most when it comes to its effects.
The developed world has built massive economies on the back of fossil fuels and the push to have Africa not use its natural resources like coal, natural gas and oil looks a bit unfair. Considering especially that when the conflict in Europe happened, natural gas was fired up and used.
A sad and ironic consequence of this climate summit is that African countries are coming out of it and deploying more carbon-intensive ways to power their economy. You may not agree with them, but you cannot fault their rationale.
But what of e-mobility?
The silent parade took place, where the whole e-mobility fraternity in Kenya came together and showed the world that the East African country does indeed have electric vehicles and that the industry, although in its infancy, is alive and well.
This was ultimately shown by President William Ruto arriving on all three days of the summit in a convoy that was fully electric. My extensive research (on Google) showed that the first president who drove an electric car was US President Theodore Roosevelt back in 1902. But being serious for a moment, this one act has put a spotlight on the industry and given it a shot in the arm in three ways.
Firstly, people are now talking about e-mobility. If you go to any gathering, people are discussing the merits and demerits of the technology. We have now moved from if the technology is even there to whether it works. This is a big mind shift.
[Side note: Vehicles are the easiest way for people to experience sustainability. All other ways and technology cannot be experienced the same way as mobility. Hence, I think it is the best way to move the green agenda forward.]
Secondly, all other countries in the world have seen what Kenya has done. This one move has accelerated e-mobility adoption on the continent by several years, period. All activists, industry players and stakeholders in general from other countries will go to their elected leaders and demand the same kind of action if not stronger.
Thirdly and more importantly, it shows that the country is fully behind e-mobility and if you bring your money here, you have a government that will support your efforts. So investors, please bring your money.
About the author
John Msingo is the East African Moderator for AfricaNEV, a non-profit that aims to accelerate the adoption of e-mobility on the continent by capacity building, policy advocacy, creating awareness and linking different players in the value chain.