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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

26 August 2022 - Intended to support policymakers, this policy brief from Dr Gabriel Okello and Dr Jake Reynolds seeks to improve understanding of the state of e-mobility in Uganda and how best to achieve the transition to low-pollution transportation. Drawing on the collaborative research conducted as part of The Prince of Wales Global Sustainability Fellowship in Air Quality and NCDs, supported by AstraZeneca, the brief offers recommendations for those looking to facilitate a holistic, just and sustainable transition to e-mobility in Uganda.

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Transport linkages are crucial in connecting workers and businesses in cities, as it is a means of movement of goods and services in, out and within the cities, providing access to healthcare, education and employment opportunities to its people. However, current infrastructure levels in many cities are overwhelmed by a rapidly growing number of vehicles which is resulting to traffic congestion, particularly in developing countries, with potentially negative effects on outcomes ranging from economic activity to health.

In the face of rapid population growth and urbanisation, Uganda is experiencing a staggering increase in mobility. Motorised transport—particularly minibuses, vans and motorcycles (bodas)—is becoming increasingly popular, leading to the degradation of urban air quality and subsequent negative impacts on the environment and human health. E-mobility offers a means of reducing these impacts, while simultaneously creating a vast array of green jobs. This brief offers insights into how furthering collaboration with stakeholders in business, policymakers and motorcycle riders’ associations allows the co-design of effective pathways to replace petrol-driven bodas with electric versions, with suggestions for how this process might best be implemented.

Key findings:

  • The demand for e-mobility is growing in Uganda;
  • E-mobility has the potential to reduce local air pollution, GHG gases and related health burdens in Ugandan cities, creating tens of thousands of green jobs in the process;
  • Our research suggests that the transition to e-mobility will be most effective when it is inclusive and supported by effective policy built upon a robust evidence-base;

Key recommendations include:

  • drawing up policies to provide guidance on the e-mobility transition pathway,
  • building local capacity in the e-mobility sector,
  • Identifying and addressing barriers to early electric vehicle adoption,
  • building capacity around re-use and recycling of e-waste (especially batteries), and
  • incorporating e-mobility into existing transport modes;
  • multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach to transition will remove barriers to adoption in each part of the e-mobility ecosystem, fostering the widest possible distribution of benefits.

Find out more about Gabriel's research Fellowship in Air Quality and NCDs, supported by AstraZeneca

Published: 26 August 2022

Authors and acknowledgements

This paper was written by Dr Gabriel Okello and Dr Jake Reynolds. Review of drafts and comments were provided by Dr Gianna Huhn (CISL) and Usamah Luutu Kaggwa (Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Uganda).


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The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent an official position of CISL or The University of Cambridge.