SADC e-Mobility Outlook: A Zimbabwean Case Study
The current landscape in the Zimbabwean transport sector is characterised by high operating costs which in turn increases production costs for industry and commerce, thereby negatively affecting the competitiveness of Zimbabwean-made products in the region. These high transport costs combined with poor accessibility in rural areas also make it difficult for the most vulnerable urban and rural groups, including the elderly, women, children and people living with disabilities, to access safe and sustainable means of transport. Moreover, the shortage of foreign currency also negatively affects transport operators’ ability to procure spare parts for their vehicles and to ensure a stable/regular supply of fuel for the Zimbabwean fleet of internal combustion engine vehicles. This case study focuses on how e-Mobility can lower the operating costs of transport operators by reducing their downtime, the time lost in fuel queues and lowering the fuel import bill, thereby improving the country’s current account position. Moving to a multimodal mobility ecosystem by increasing the penetration of micromobility options can improve accessibility in marginalised areas. Accelerating the transition to electric mobility will improve productivity and affordability for marginalised groups through lower operational costs which can be passed on to the commuting public. Updating the current Zimbabwe Motor Industry Policy to align it with international trends on e-Mobility and setting definitive targets for electric vehicle adoption is recommended to rebuild a sustainable local vehicle assembly industry. A holistic approach considering the interface between the mining industry for electric vehicle related minerals and materials, distributed renewable energy systems and clean transportation focusing on battery electric vehicles can catalyse growth in the Zimbabwean economy that has been in a downward cycle of decline for several decades punctuated by brief periods of respite.