Solar powered electric transport solutions to women and their families in the rural areas of Zimbabwe
An international jury of experts announced Mobility for Africa as the 2022 EEP Africa Project of the Year for Scale Up category at the EEP Africa’s virtual Knowledge Week in March. The company is a woman-led start-up in Zimbabwe that is developing renewable community-based transport solutions for Africa, particularly women. The aim of the company is to transform the mobility in rural Africa communities with a proven business model that can be replicated across the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
The company supplies custom built electric tricycles, Hambas, that run on swappable, solar-charged li-ion battery packs as a fleet system with central charging stations. The company provides the vehicles on a rent-to-own and lease basis to rural customers, mainly women. The three-wheeled vehicles are optimised for local conditions and can carry up to 400 kg making them attractive to smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs as they get improved access to markets and services. The company operates on three sites in Zimbabwe with headquarters in Harare.
“We are honoured and exited to get this recognition. EEP Africa’s flexibility, curiosity, and support to do something completely out of the box was really important to us. We especially appreciated the local knowledge and presence that EEP Africa could provide in Zimbabwe.” Shantha Bloemen, Managing Director, Mobility for Africa
Mobility for Africa had a number of impressive achievements during 2022. Each individual charging site servicing 50 Hambas is profitable and modular making the company’s model highly scalable with battery swaps every two days. They created job opportunities through the Transport & Logistics Service Delivery, which transport anything and everything from: building materials, kids to school and produce for market. Mobility for Africa supported local government with 7 vehicles for police officers and the health sector. Their service further prevented food waste by setting up a fleet management system with the Mayfield Milk Collection Center (MCC) in Chipinge, Zimbabwe. Since the introduction of the Hamba, the Milk Collection Center says production has increased by 40%. All this work culminated in InfraCo Africa signing an agreement committing USD 2 million to scale up which could de-risk investment from other DFIs.
“Mobility for Africa has shown endurance to bring in a new mobility service that is affordable, increases economic opportunities, creates new local markets, enhances gender equality and rural livelihoods.” Ari G D, Partner, SIMA Funds
The Project of the Year award celebrates outstanding achievement during the past year in terms of innovation, delivery, impact and/or fundraising by an EEP Africa portfolio company. This year the award was once again split into two categories – Start Up and Scale Up. Project of the Year Scale Up seeks to recognize a company that is growing and on their way to broader impact.
Learn more about Mobility for Africa:
InfraCo Africa: Transforming rural mobility