Ethiopia embarks on transition to e-mobility amid rising fuel prices and green development

Photo taken on July 22, 2022 shows an electric vehicle imported by Green Tech Africa and a charging station at its showroom in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo: Xinhua

A striking phrase written in Amharic, Ethiopia’s working language, can be seen on either side of cars on display inside a showroom on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. The phrase reads “An electric vehicle” – a rare sight in a country where electric mobility is in its infancy.

The showroom, which exclusively showcases a wide range of electric vehicles for potential Ethiopian buyers, is owned by Green Tech Africa, an East African-based renewable energy company that works in partnership with leading Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers in as part of its aspirations to promote electric mobility. in Ethiopia and beyond across the African continent.

As the Ethiopian government recently embarked on an ambitious effort to accelerate the transition to electric mobility in the face of global fuel uncertainties, the company recently partnered with the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport in a series of events who were planning to raise public awareness of e-mobility.

One of these initiatives is a month-long campaign on free transport of electric vehicles for residents of Addis Ababa.

The phenomenon has caught the attention of many people on the streets of Addis Ababa, most of whom are experiencing their first-ever battery electric vehicle excursion.

Kidem Tesfaye, CEO of Green Tech Africa, said that an increasing number of Ethiopians are becoming interested in electric cars lately.

The Ethiopian government, concerned about the huge cost of fuel that has been further exacerbated by current increases in global fuel prices, is recently promoting electric vehicles as a viable solution.

The East African country spends an estimated annual average of US$4 billion on fuel, according to government figures. For comparison, Ethiopia’s overall export earnings in the Ethiopian fiscal year 2021/2022 which ended earlier this month was US$4.12 billion.

Experts have argued that Ethiopia, which spends much of its foreign exchange revenue on fossil fuels, should leverage the global climate change agenda as a priority to reduce emissions.

“As the water tower of North East Africa, Ethiopia is potentially endowed with great hydroelectric potential, so it makes sense that we look to electric cars as a future mobility machine,” said Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, a professor of public policy at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

“Automakers are looking for alternative fuel sources, with the goal of reducing harmful exhaust emissions while delivering the kind of overall performance and range capabilities,” Costantinos said, as he advised the Ethiopia to do the same.

The Ethiopian government, as part of its 10-year development plan that runs from 2021 to 2030, plans to import 4,800 electric buses and 148,000 electric automobiles.

Tesfaye argued that, aware of the current global transition to electric vehicles, the East African country should aspire even higher.

Many say Ethiopia’s transport system has been a key source of carbon dioxide emissions with the influx of cheap used cars being imported into the country, where new cars are in short supply and electric vehicles are almost unknown until very recently.

Tesfaye pointed out that Green Tech Africa, working in collaboration with its Chinese partners, plans to change the situation by introducing electric vehicles made in China and adapted to local demand.

The company currently imports cars from Chinese automaker Dongfeng Motor Corporation and plans to set up a car assembly plant in the near future to achieve its ultimate goal of becoming the manufacturing hub for electric vehicles in Africa.

“Over the next ten years, we see Green Tech Africa (become) the hub of electric vehicle manufacturing and have at least 60% of electric vehicle components manufactured locally,” Tesfaye said.

An electric vehicle imported by Green Tech Africa is charged at its showroom in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 22, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

An electric vehicle imported by Green Tech Africa is charged at its showroom in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 22, 2022. Photo: Xinhua


Kidem Tesfaye, managing director of Green Tech Africa, demonstrates how to operate a charging station at a company showroom in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 22, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

Kidem Tesfaye, managing director of Green Tech Africa, demonstrates how to operate a charging station at a company showroom in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 22, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

An electric vehicle imported by Green Tech Africa is charged at its showroom in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 22, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

An electric vehicle imported by Green Tech Africa is charged at its showroom in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 22, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

Photo taken on July 22, 2022 shows electric vehicles imported by Green Tech Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Photo: Xinhua

Photo taken on July 22, 2022 shows electric vehicles imported by Green Tech Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo: Xinhua

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