Did you know that E-mobility is one aspect of fighting Climate change in Africa!
Did you Know?
In the last two decades, the whole world started experiencing the effects of climate change. Who knew that the car we drive can contribute to the increasing temperature on the North poles? Did you know that the temperature increase on the poles affects our lives? If you didn’t know, in the last century the temperature on the poles have increased over 1.6 degree celsius (“Global Warming Effects”, 2021), You might think that this is a small increase or this doesn’t concern you because maybe you are reading this Blog from your home in East or southern Africa and you think that’s too far to even affect you in any way. For your information, the rise in temperature on the earth’ poles have caused the ice melting and this contributed to the rise of sea level, currently the global sea levels are rising to about 3,2 millimeters every year! Are you from a country that deals with too many floods, coastal erosions and coastal storms like hurricanes? If not, then I guess you always hear the news in different parts of the world where infrastructure systems are damaged due to intense storms and flooding like in Mozambique. Well, the floods and hurricanes are related to the melting of ice in the poles, rise in sea levels and then floods to your coast. Now, do you get how far this temperature rise would get us? Do you get how troubled the world is, if we don’t act to address this issue? Worried? Me too. There are many more effects of this temperature rise on the whole world including the shortage of fresh water since the melting glaciers have about three quarters of the world’s fresh water, migration and extinction of some animals, also on average, precipitation (rain and snowfall) has risen around the world. However, some areas are experiencing more extreme drought, increasing the risk of wildfires, crop losses, drinking water shortages, increase in floods and hurricanes. In the world where agriculture remains central to the world’s economy with 60% of the world population depending on agriculture for living, this is a threat to humankind and the whole world (FAO, 2013). The main causes and contributing factors to climate change are gas emitted in the atmosphere, There are many gases (greenhouse gases) but the most common are those in the Paris agreement; carbon dioxide, Nitrous oxide, methane, sulphur hexafluoride, Perfluorocarbons and Hydrofluorocarbons. Greenhouse gases enable the sun’s rays to reach the Earth’s surface unhindered. In contrast to man-made gases, which cause a significant increase in heat, natural greenhouse gases maintain a temperature appropriate for life on Earth. They prevent heat from being reflected back into space and instead direct it to Earth.
The world is trying, Rwanda is already implementing
As climate change is likely to be the biggest challenge of the 21st century, the global institutions took a lead to make awareness of this challenge, its causes, consequences and sustainable solutions. The main identified cause is the gas emissions in the atmosphere, most of the countries like Rwanda, industries and transport are the major contributors to the gas emission. The solution to limit or decrease these gases emitted is to adopt renewable energy in industries and transport. Rwanda’s approach to climate change has been remarkable since the program of re afforestation, reserving green areas and finally starting leapfrogging from transport that uses fuel and oil to fully electric mobility. As a little context to the gas emission in Rwanda, the Wordometer report asserted that the country emits almost 1,500 tons of fossil CO2 in the atmosphere every year. From the analysis also, the transport sector has a share of 55.3% of the total emissions (“Rwanda CO2 Emissions – Worldometer”, 2021). The government has taken a step forward of decreasing emissions by starting with the transport sector.
E-mobility in Rwanda’s transport sector
The Rwandan government has started to look in the future by leapfrogging from the petrol based transport system to fully electric vehicles in the public transport sector. When you stand on the streets of Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda, there are 60% chances that the vehicle that passes by you will be a motorcycle. Motorcycles are not the main means of public transport but they are the most seen and used in Rwanda’s urban areas especially the capital Kigali. Motorcycles are always the pillar of reliance to Rwandans, since they are fast, affordable, and accessible around Kigali. There are as many as twenty five thousand motorcycles only in Kigali. With the help of a Kigali based venture “Ampersand”, The Rwandan government began a pilot of converting all the motorcycles in the taxi business to electric vehicles. From 2019, Ampersand have been assembling and testing electric vehicles in Kigali, so far they have about 35 electric vehicles working as taxis in Kigali city (Ampersand, 2020). Due to this initiative of the government of Rwanda, more ventures have emerged in the country’s market with both electric motorcycles and vehicles. Volkswagen have been testing electric golf cars as cabs, also REM have been testing electric motorcycles and also there is a study going on to adopt electric buses in public transport starting with Kigali. With this courage and research, It is expected that the Rwandan public transport will turn fully electric in the next ten years. Only by converting the twenty five thousand motorcycles in Kigali, the country will decrease about 157,000 tones of carbon dioxide gas emitted every year in the atmosphere by the petrol motorcycles. This Rwanda’s approach together with the green cities initiative have made this country remarkable for environmentally friendly and a country that is contributing to tackle the climate change change effects.
Ampersand’s full electric motorcycles in Kigali (Photo from Ampersand, 2020)
In conclusion, climate change effects are a threat to the world at large, specifically the issue of gas emissions, as it was discussed above. Besides, as the world’s population is growing, so will the emitted gases increase, if the world doesn’t respond accordingly. The issue not only concerns the respective institutions but also concerns us, as the people of Rwanda, Africa and the whole world. Imagine if all of us would come together as one to stand against all the activities that lead to gas emissions. If all countries tackle climate change from its root cause and act as Rwanda, we will have a chance to solve this challenge as soon as we can. But if we continue to prioritize economic benefits for our industries and we neglect that climate change and global warming are the biggest threat to humankind’s legacy, our world will face serious effects in the coming years and it will be too late to react.
As Africans, we still have the opportunity to react to the rising challenges as soon as possible, but as this is a global challenge, one continent can not tackle this alone, the world needs to collaborate through its global institutions to address the rising effects and causes of climate change. There is a need to respect each and every continent or country’s contribution on this journey.
Global Warming Effects. (2021). Retrieved 28 March 2021, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/global-warming-effects
Rwanda CO2 Emissions – Worldometer. (2021). Retrieved 28 March 2021, from https://www.worldometers.info/co2-emissions/rwanda-co2-emissions/
(2020). Retrieved 28 March 2021, from https://www.ampersand.solar
Zavatta, Zavatta, Perrone, Figus, Perrone and Figus, 2021. Agriculture Remains Central to the World Economy. 60% of the Population Depends on Agriculture for Survival | ExpoNet. [online] EXPONet. Available at: [Accessed 28 March 2021].
Rwanda is committed to a sustainable and green urbanisation agenda, Minister Gatete. (2021). Retrieved 28 March 2021, from https://www.mininfra.gov.rw/updates/news-details/rwanda-is-committed-to-a-sustainable-and-green-urbanisation-agenda-minister-gatete
Great initiatives by Rwanda in taking some of the viable steps in addressing climate change.
In addition to that, I believe that adopting alternative modes of mobility that rely less on the use of private cars (EVs or not) to greener mass public transportation will exponentially increase the impact. This could be a public drive to adopt cycling as means of urban commute, in line with making the roads safer and convenient for cyclists.
Awesome and quick read, thank you for sharing with us.