In 2019, Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, announced his government’s intention to replace Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)-motorcycles with e-motorcycles. This move spurred e-mobility innovation in the country and beyond.
This move by President Kagame spurred mobility startups like Ampersand to invest more in the country's switch to clean energy.
Two years later: Last week, Rwandan startup Ampersand, Africa’s first electric motorcycle company, secured a $3.5 million investment from the Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF). This is the largest ever e-mobility investment by a venture capital fund in Sub-Saharan Africa and could hint at a turning point in African electric transport.
Motorcycles are popular means of transportation in East African cities like Nairobi and Kampala. Often regarded as loud and unruly, these motorcycles weave in and out of traffic at breakneck speed. According to the Motorcycle Assembly Association of Kenya, the industry generates over $4M daily in Kenya.
Why it matters: Driven by health and environmental concerns and the need to reduce dependency on oil imports, electric mobility (e-mobility) is gaining prominence across the continent’s public and private sectors.
In Kampala, there are currently around 150,000 drivers earning their daily income by driving a conventional motorcycle (boda boda), serving a population of approximately 2 million people. With Kampala being one of the most polluted cities in the world, it’s expected that the progress of companies like Ampersand will lead to a drastic reduction in air pollution.