Introducing Electric Vehicles to Southern Africa: A Systemic Innovation Approach Towards a Green New Deal

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are not typically seen as catalysts that may enable the large-scale transformation of national and regional economic and development trajectories. But the climate emergency, the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s disruptive impact, and the electric mobility (e-Mobility) revolution present Southern African states with an opportunity to pursue a low-carbon, preferable and more equitable future. This is made possible by a complete re-imagining of the role and contribution of the extractive, automotive and energy industries. This mindset shift requires bold decisions and courageous action, facilitated by a systems innovation approach that materially changes how the mining of battery minerals is governed, liquid fuels are used, automotive value chains are structured, the role of mobility is perceived, energy sources are used, electricity is generated, action is taken on climate emergency, and collaborative public-private policy action is pursued. This policy briefing explores the impacts of EVs on the mining, automotive and energy sectors in Southern Africa, and the leverage points that could facilitate cross-sectoral and transnational systemic innovations that would enable a just and green e-Mobility transition.