State launches electric mobility policy

Electric bus

A police officer gestures as a public service electric bus is driven past her at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on November 1, 2023.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The country’s transport sector is powered mostly by fossil fuels.
  • Data security and privacy standards for EVs will also be established. 

The Transport Ministry on Wednesday launched the first Electric Mobility Draft Policy, setting in motion plans to promote the use of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country.

Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen said the document will guide the development of electric mobility in all transportation modes — roads, rail, air and maritime — as well as provide a transition framework from the internal combustion engine.

He said the government is partnering with the private sector, international investors and academic institutions to build the necessary infrastructure.

Mr Murkomen termed the move as a pivotal point for the country as it gears towards protecting the environment and the health of citizens.

“We are at a point where we need to choose between new ideas and the old ways of doing things. Kenya is ready to make far-reaching changes that will not only improve how we travel but also help our environment and economy,” said the CS.

The draft policy proposes incentives for EV adoption and support for local manufacturing.

Environmental benefits

“To promote faster adoption of electric vehicles, we have begun the process of assigning green-coloured number plates to all-electric vehicles, including two-wheelers. Special plates will help raise awareness about EVs among the general public and encourage more people to consider switching to e-mobility,” he said.

Stating that the policy is an indication that the government is committed to popularising EVs in the country, Mr Murkomen said his ministry will take to the Cabinet a proposal for a phased fleet replacement for all government vehicles with EVs. 

“This will, in the long run, save the taxpayer billions of shillings on fuel and other maintenance costs, not to mention the immense environmental benefits that come from the shift,” he said.

The CS noted that the country’s transport sector is powered mostly by fossil fuels, and used about 72 per cent of imported petroleum products.

According to him, greenhouse gas emissions from the sector are projected to increase from 13 per cent in 2015 to 17 per cent by 2030.

“Air pollution from these emissions and climate change threaten our health, our economy, and our very lives,” said the CS.

Reduction in emissions

Mr Murkomen stated that the policy offers several benefits. Environmentally, it promises a significant reduction in emissions, contributing to cleaner air and a healthier population.

Economically, it signals a future with lower operating costs, reduced dependency on imported fuels, and the creation of green jobs.

Socially, it means cleaner cities and enhanced public health. Technologically, it places Kenya at the forefront of innovation, setting a benchmark for integrating renewable energy and setting up cleaner transportation systems across Africa.

“I am confident that this document will produce ground-breaking legislative and regulatory proposals that will drive forward the country’s nascent e-mobility industry,” said Murkomen. 

The policy stipulates provision of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to players in the e-mobility ecosystem. Data security and privacy standards for EVs will also be established. 

It is set to be subjected to public participation, which will give Kenyans the opportunity to propose ways of improving it.