Africa is filled with opportunities that have gone many years untapped by Africans for their own development and progress. The intelligence, resilience, creativity and dogged determination of its people have been largely underutilized as a continent with 75% youthful population must possess a lot in terms of solutions to the world in more ways than one.
Africa as a continent of hope is currently taking its position in the global automobile space where the creative geniuses of its people are being put to test as seen in Uganda and Nigeria.
Uganda is a small landlocked country in Eastern Africa. Despite its smallness, political and social economic challenges, its people are thinking big in a big way as demonstrated by building of the first hybrid electric car in Africa. This brings a new down to the content of hope as the success of this project would not only launch Uganda but Africa to the world as a source of solution to the problem of carbon Gas emission which has been troubling the Global Community.
Isaack Paul, the CEO of Kiira Motors is the gallant African behind the pioneering project of Africa building its first home grown electric cars in the Ugandan soil. The Car project started when some university of Harare students collaborated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology students in a car design project in 2006. Since then, Uganda has been exerting itself to conquer social economic stumbling blocks in its manufacturing sector to give the world its first African made electric cars!
The Government of Yowen Musaveni has been trying hard to push Uganda out of poverty and introduce it into the middle income range of countries. The Government has supported the car project with over $50M and has also helped to drum up private sector support which has enabled Kiira motors to secure over $400m of private sector funding. These investments would help the company to fulfill its plans of producing about 7000 SMACK Sedan cars and 37 passenger vans by 2018.
Some of the hybrid collections in the Ugandan kiira motor project include: Kiira EV which is 100% electric car, Kiira EV Smack hybrid which runs on lithium battery and petrol and the Kyoola which is exclusively solar powered.
One of the most interesting and fascinating element about these cars is that over 70% of their components are sourced locally with calculated intention of continuous improvement until Africa can produce 100% African cars; thereby saving foreign exchange for domestic investment. This would also help make the cars cheap enough to compete with other foreign known brands.
The production of the Ugandan hybrid car demonstrates the “can do spirit” of Africa. Though the challenges facing the actualization of this tall order in a large scale are real, they are not insurmountable.
East Africa uses just about 20000 cars per annum and only about 20% of the population has access to electricity coupled with the challenge of charging an Electric car on an already fragile power grid. However, Africa remains hopeful and resolute.
West Africa is also pulling the strings so hard in the automobile manufacturing industry with Nigeria taking the lead as Innoson motors are also busy producing brand new 80% local content Nigerian made cars. The Innoson motors is anchoring on the Nigerian government policy on importation to drive a move for Nigeria and indeed Africa to take its rightful position in the world automobile empire. The idea is to expand and reach the world with beautiful automobiles that can stand the test of time and competition from the shores of Africa. The future truly belongs to those who dream. The Innoson dream was born in 1978 when Innocent Chukwuma started out as a spare parts trader in Nnewi Anambra State in Nigeria. Since then, he has kept hope alive and his dream is gradually becoming a reality as each day blesses mankind with opportunity and sunlight.
With the wave of innovation, creativity mixed with spirit of excellence sweeping across Africa and government’s resolve in fighting corruption, the automobile empire in Africa is truly rising to take its rightful position and give the world a run for its money in less than no time!
Africa is indeed rising!!!