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Can e-mobility solve Kenya's pollution problem?

February 4, 2020

With much electricity already coming from renewable energy, there is great potential for e-mobility in Kenya. But tackling air pollution through sustainable transport solutions has its challenges too.

A man on a bike
Image: Thomas Hasel

Kenya - E-Mobility in Nairobi

Project goal: Promoting the use of electric vehicles in Kenya and other developing countries.

Project implementation: The project focuses on integrating electric vehicles into the city transport systems in Kenya, Ethiopia, Philippines, Thailand, Uganda and Vietnam.

Project duration: March 2017 to February 2021.

Project partners: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE),Thailand, Department of Energy, Philippines, and Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Uganda. 

Project budget: The project is supported by €3,333,500 from the German Environment Ministry (BMU) through its International Climate Initiative (IKI)

The air in Kenya's capital Nairobi is very polluted, largely due to the many cars, buses and motorcycles powered by petrol and diesel on its streets. These vehicles release particulate matter into the air, affecting the health of thousands of city dwellers. More and more people are suffering from respiratory problems in urban centers.

In order to tackle pollution and increasing CO2 emissions, the UNEP is supporting the development and use of electric vehicles. Companies such as the start-up Solar E-Cycles and the Swedish company Opibus have launched the first powered bicycles, motorcycles and cars. 

However, the project has also faced challenges. Authorities can be resistant to vehicle registration, and some customers are not yet convinced of the advantages of electric vehicles.

A film by Thomas Hasel