NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

Electric Boda Bodas - a sustainable mobility solution

Photo: Zembo Pilot Day in Kampala
29.09.2020

Zembo is revolutionising the motorcycle taxi market in Uganda. Learn about their innovative business model in the latest EEP Africa case study

Motorcycle taxis, known locally as boda bodas, are a main form of transportation in many East African cities and one of the leading causes of noise and air pollution. Clean energy solutions for the boda boda market offer a high impact opportunity to reduce GHG emissions, improve health, and create green jobs.
 
“E-mobility is a rapidly developing sector that plays a critical role in sustainable urban development and green growth. EEP Africa is proud to provide early-stage financing for Zembo to pilot this innovative technology in the Ugandan market,” says Charles Wetherill, EEP Africa Fund Manager.
 
Zembo, an innovative start-up company, is creating a new market for e-mobility in Kampala by selling electric motorcycles on an affordable lease-to-own basis and building a network of solar charging stations. Customised for African roads, the Zembo Storm e-bike is assembled locally and can travel 60 km on a single charge.
 
With EEP Africa financing, Zembo is in the process of putting 200 e-bikes on the road and opening over 15 recharging stations using a PAYG battery swap model. Within five years the company aims to have a network of 700 solar charging stations across Uganda.
 
“The battery-as-a-service model decouples investment and usage, enabling more people to make the transition to e-mobility,” says Étienne Saint-Sernin, Zembo co-founder.
 
Zembo motorcycles are proving to be very popular in the local market and the company has developed partnerships with drivers from SafeBoda, a local ride-hailing app, and the Kampala Capital City Authorities (KCCA). As part of an EU-funded program for sustainable urban development, the KCCA purchased four Zembo bikes for their municipal fleet and funded one charging station that will be staffed by members of a local youth group.
 
“Clean transport is one of the major interventions we can take to reduce pollution. It’s easy to work with Zembo because they have tested the technology and understand the local market,” says Edison Masereka, Business Development Manager, KCCA
 
About EEP Africa:
EEP Africa is a clean energy financing facility hosted and managed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) with funding from Austria, Finland and NDF. It provides early stage grant and catalytic debt financing to innovative clean energy projects, technologies and business models in Southern and East Africa.
 
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