Credit to Author: Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai| Date: Mon, 26 Oct 2020 20:30:51 +0000
Published on October 26th, 2020 | by Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai
October 26th, 2020 by Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Boda Boda Investment Scheme on Friday. The investment scheme, a partnership between the Boda Boda Safety Association (BAK) and its partners, which include the Capital Markets Authority, Rubis Energy, and NABO Capital, seeks to channel a portion of riders’ earnings to a savings scheme. Training, legal representation, and other investment opportunities are also part of the arrangement. During the launch, some fascinating numbers were revealed that show how important the motorcycle taxi industry is to Kenya’s economy.
Here is a summary of the numbers:
President Kenyatta said the sector supports 5.2 million Kenyans directly or indirectly, which is about 10% of Kenya’s population. One of the key things highlighted is the fact that despite all this contribution to the economy, a lot of Boda Boda riders complain about the tough operating environment. This is why several startups have set out to address this by providing a new avenue for the riders to lower their operating costs, increase their earnings, and ultimately build some savings by switching to electric motorcycles.
One of the startups is Ecobodaa, and they say its pilot program shows that it has been able to save riders 36% on daily fuel spend, over 75% on repairs, and 90% on servicing for over a period of 3 months. Ecobodaa has adopted the proven PayGo model adopted from the small home solar system industry to help catalyze adoption, in which the riders will only pay a 10% deposit and then pay the reminder through daily or weekly M-PESA (mobile money) remittances. This way they will solve the problem facing many youth and women, which is access to capital. The payments are made for a period of 18 months, after which they get to own the Ecobodaa.
From today on, a new era of transportation – powered with local #solar energy – is kickstarting in West Kenya. The locally developed and manufactured bodas are now going into operations #jobs #economic development #cleanenergy https://t.co/MbwgKenO4h
— Rolf Huber (@huber_rolf) October 17, 2020
Another startup is Fika Mobility. Fika means to arrive in Swahili, and they strongly believe that the moment for electric motorcycles in east Africa has arrived. Fika Mobility has spent over 2 years studying the market to see how best to disrupt the motorcycle ecosystem in Kenya. In that time, the company spoke with over 200 Boda Boda riders to understand their rider habits and pain points. Wetu, a social enterprise that provides mobility, power, and water solutions to improve living standards in rural Kenya, has just had 15 electric motorcycles delivered to its hub in Homa Bay, Western Kenya. These motorcycles were designed in Kenya and built to suit local conditions by another startup, Opibus.
A 2015 study by the Energy Regulatory Commission, ERC (Now called The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, EPRA), titled “Global Fuel Economy Initiative Study in Kenya (GFEI),” cites that emissions from motorcycles of less than 150 cc are about 46.5 g/km of CO2. A 2018 paper by Fiona Raje, et al., cites that 39% of CO2 emissions in Kenya are from the transport sector. This also highlights why switching to electric motorcycles has become even more important to reduce emissions in Kenya.
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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.