Managing the mobility of nations and goods remains one of the toughest environmental and social issues of our time. Expanding the South African grid system is crucial for the seamless adaption to a changing (micro mobility) transportation sector.
Green growth, sustainable transportation and e-mobility in Africa will be the main driver for equal economic opportunity on the continent. Much of its growth is driven by the rapidly increasing demand for mobility and fuel – communities making their way to work in the developing Megacities and metropoles, all around the economic nodes of developing nations, need cost-effective and reliable transport alternatives to the conventional options still dominating the sectors.
Many African countries still import petroleum fuels through government making it an expensive foreign exchange exercise to buy gasoline and diesel on the global market, while local access to renewable energy is so readily and in abundance, that one should ask oneself, why this energy revolution is dragging along, instead of sprinting ahead. Many countries have begun the much needed transition, moving away from fossil fuel dependency and tapping into its renewable energy resources. Counties like Kenya achieves about 85 per cent renewable and based on hydro, geothermal and increasingly wind and solar energy sources.
E-mobility in Africa
In agriculture, e-mobility is a very important economic driver for the entire value chain. Adapting agricultural machinery, is one way of mitigating challenges related to fuel shortages or exuberant costs related to operations. In a nutshell, crops are transported to the market, with a sustainable source of fuel, that exists in abundance. Public African transport systems also play a huge part in the green mobility revolution. Informal, “paratransit” systems like minibus taxis, tuktuks (three wheelers), and cars by far own the largest share of the passenger transportation sector. Making these transposition systems greener will not only catapult Africa into a sustainable transport sector, but grow the economy in a green and sustainable way.
Electric mobility provides great developmental opportunities for African countries, to take part in a process that requires many of its resources. It could support the creation of “green jobs”, on the African continent, by providing additional skills transfer opportunities in the manufacture of electric vehicles in many Sub-Sahara African countries. Furthermore, EVs are much less complex, and besides some essential components like the lithium-ion battery, many of the main parts can be manufactured in semi-industrial processes in some of Africas very established cities, this represents a major opportunity to harness much of the value chain for communities on the continent.
In the context of power crisis in South Africa and extreme weather events that an increasing number of cities are already facing, it is of utmost importance to develop, and scale decarbonised e-mobility solutions. Such solutions must address acute challenges faced by cities and their inhabitants, linking urban and mobility planning, while actively engaging with communities at all levels of the transformation ladder, from design to implementation.
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