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Upskilling youth to accelerate the adoption of e-mobility solutions in Africa

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By Roberto Vigotti

· 3 min read

African nations have the fastest growing and youngest population in the world, many of whom are moving into urban centers searching for employment. By 2050, Africa’s population is expected to reach 2.5 billion, with 1.5 billion living in cities and 1 billion in rural areas. This will lead to a significant increase in demand for mobility. 

In Kenya, electric mobility has potential to create employment for the 500,000 youths that are joining the labour force, since the country aims to have electric vehicles account for 5% of all registered vehicles by 2025. This target reflects the government's commitment to reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable transportation solutions through the adoption of EVs. To this end, it is essential that upskilling sessions should be organised to catalyse further development and implementation of sustainable transport solutions in the region. 

With the world’s lowest motorisation rates - 45 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants – Africa is poised to leapfrog into a greener future, driven by the need to combat congestion, pollution, and high fuel costs. To enhance employability for young people in this potentially fast-growing e-mobility sector, RES4Africa Foundation, Youth for Sustainable Energy and Mobility and Enel Foundation partnered with Long Jump agency to hold an E-Mobility Workshop for 44 under-35 students, recent graduates and young renewable energy professionals - several of whom from the Technical and Vocational Capacity Building Programme  Micro-Grid Academy (implemented by RES4Africa in partnership with Strathmore University, St. Kizito VTI, AVSI and with the support of Enel Foundation) – that took place on June 4th. 2024 in Nairobi, Kenya, on the premises of e-mobility start-up BasiGo. 

The training focused on abilities that are in high demand in this employment market, thus seeking to bridge the skills gap in the industry. Specifically, shortages regard technical expertise in emerging renewable energy technologies, professional skills in project planning, risk management and stakeholder engagement. Also, experts are insufficient in energy policy and regulation, project finance, investment and risk management to help secure green project funding.  

Stakeholders from various sectors included policymakers, industry leaders, investors and innovators. Warren Ondaje from Africa E-mobility Alliance illustrated the current policy landscape and upcoming regulations to facilitate electric vehicle integration. Samuel Kamunya from BasiGo – which is witnessing high demand for electric buses - described industry trends and investment opportunities. Alex Munene from Advanced Mobility Centre explained the evolution of the transport sector and why the shift towards electric vehicles is a game changer. Cliff Ondari from M-KOPA Mobility compared traditional and emerging innovative financing models and analysed the role of public-private partnerships.

Other speakers - from GIZ, Electricity Sector Association of Kenya and Raynow Energy – also shared their expertise. 

Moreover, participants received first-hand knowledge by following Francis Mungai from BasiGo on different types of electric buses in the company’s fleet, learning about the charging infrastructure, remote monitoring, maintenance and operational best practices.  

In a particularly valuable Plenary Session, various openings for young people in the e-mobility sector were shared: internships, programs for policy and curriculum development, research opportunities and specific important events.

The findings from this workshop will be showcased at the Africa E-mobility week that will take place this coming August in Nairobi. The workshop was concluded with the launch of the YSEM website, to be used by young people to network, share and learn about the different EV technologies.

Illuminem Voices is a democratic space presenting the thoughts and opinions of leading Sustainability & Energy writers, their opinions do not necessarily represent those of illuminem.

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About the author

Roberto Vigotti is the Secretary General of RES4Africa Foundation, a European think tank gathering 34 stakeholders from the clean energy value chain to accelerate Africa’s RE transition. Previously, he spent 35 years in Enel Power R&D Division and served for 12 years as the chair of the Renewable Working Party of the IEA

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