Automotive Industry, Economy, Environment

Here Are Three Reasons Why President Ruto’s Green Ride Symbolized Kenya’s Green Growth and Sustainable Jobs for Africa

Sun­day the third of Sep­tem­ber this year will go down as a his­toric day for Kenyan elec­tric vehi­cles com­mu­ni­ty. On this day, the eve of inau­gur­al Africa Cli­mate Sum­mit, Kenya’s Pres­i­dent William Ruto rode in the first Kenyan Elec­tric Vehi­cle, Autopax, AirEv YETU. Most remark­ably, his entire pres­i­den­tial escort motor­cade of five auto­mo­biles and five out­rid­ers was ful­ly elec­tric. I can nev­er thank God enough for hon­or­ing me to ride with the Pres­i­dent in his car from State House Nairo­bi to the Keny­at­ta Inter­na­tion­al Con­ven­tion Cen­ter and back. Besides, the Pres­i­dent allowed me to be part of his team for four straight days. I sin­cere­ly take this as the most irre­place­able reward for my three-decade green mis­sion and above all the great­est hon­or to all Africans who dare to offer prac­ti­cal solu­tions to deal with effects of Cli­mate Change. God bless your Excellency! 

Today, allow me to share with you three rea­sons why I think that this ride sym­bol­ized Kenya’s ride into a future dom­i­nat­ed by elec­tric vehi­cles, cli­mate resilience and green jobs. 

First­ly, Autopax, the Kenyan com­pa­ny behind the elec­tric car that the pres­i­dent drove, has proved that Africa has what it takes to offer elec­tric cars. Africa’s Elec­tric Vehi­cle Mar­ket was val­ued at USD 11.94 bil­lion in 2021, and it is pro­ject­ed to reach USD 21.39 bil­lion by 2027. Kenya and indeed Africa can and must tap into these bil­lions as a solu­tion to deal with Africa’s press­ing trans­port fuel needs. As artic­u­lat­ed in the Nairo­bi Dec­la­ra­tion, this solu­tion-ori­ent­ed approach must now be an inte­gral part of Africa’s cli­mate journey.

The e‑mobility wave is now spread­ing across Africa. Sene­gal is going electric bus­es by 2024. Rwan­da through an e‑mobility strat­e­gy plans to be a car­bon neu­tron econ­o­my by 2050. Kenya has just estab­lished an e‑mobility Asso­ci­a­tion and in April this year a pri­vate com­pa­ny launched 20 elec­tric bus­es cur­rent­ly oper­at­ing in the Nairo­bi. Accord­ing to Motor­cy­cle Assem­blers Asso­ci­a­tion of Kenya we have about 1,500 elec­tric motor­cy­cles and these num­bers should grow expo­nen­tial­ly because all big play­ers includ­ing Bajaj, Hon­da and TVS are also going electric.

Sec­ond­ly, by host­ing the inau­gur­al Africa Cli­mate Sum­mit where pres­i­dent Ruto con­sis­tent­ly drove in a green ride, Kenya estab­lished itself as a cli­mate leader in Africa. This will posi­tion our coun­try as a favored des­ti­na­tion for cli­mate financ­ing. Indeed, Kenya already secured cli­mate invest­ments total­ing bil­lions dur­ing the Sum­mit. I there­fore call on the pri­vate sec­tor to take full advan­tage of this con­ducive cli­mate financ­ing environment. 

At the con­clu­sion of this Sum­mit, the Nairo­bi Dec­la­ra­tion unveiled Africa’s com­mit­ment to all-encom­pass­ing cli­mate resilience. It is there­fore time for Africa to pro­vide lead­er­ship in the cli­mate arena. 

Third­ly, e‑mobility will gal­va­nize Kenya’s econ­o­my. Just as mobile phone leapfrogged land­lines and rev­o­lu­tion­ized phone com­mu­ni­ca­tion so will elec­tric vehi­cles rev­o­lu­tion­ize the trans­port sec­tor. Indeed, e‑mobility will put more mon­ey into the pock­ets of Kenyans.

In recent months, Kenyan com­muters have had to dig deep­er into their pock­ets as mata­tus and bus­es raised their fares in tan­dem with ris­ing fuel costs. E‑mobility will slash these costs sub­stan­tial­ly and in so doing save mon­ey for ordi­nary peo­ple. Here­in lies the pow­er of elec­tric vehi­cles to trans­form an economy. 

Accord­ing to Cen­tral Bank data, Kenya spent Sh750 bil­lion to import fuel prod­ucts from May 2022 to May 2023. Can you imag­ine that the President’s Autopax AirEv Yetu ride was cost­ing him two shillings worth of elevtric­i­ty per kilo­me­ter? Can you imag­ine how much mon­ey would be left in our pock­ets if we went elec­tric? Can you also imag­ine the green jobs that would be beckoning? 

On the health front, EVs pro­duce zero tailpipe emis­sions, which can help improve air qual­i­ty. This will boost our health and low­er our mor­tal­i­ty rate because in Kenya, over 5,000 peo­ple die pre­ma­ture­ly every year due to out­door air pollution. 

Evi­dent­ly, elec­tric vehi­cles are good for our pock­ets; The Pres­i­dents green ride fur­ther endorsed that they are good for the envi­ron­ment and our health. Think green, act green!!

About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

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