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Ethiopia to import millions of EVs in 10 years to promote electric mobility


This photo taken on Oct. 17, 2023 shows new energy vehicles being charged at a charging area in Gujiao Township of Qiannan Bouyei and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China’s Guizhou Province. Ethiopia looking to import EVs to boost their energy transition plans.(Xinhua/Tao Liang)

ADDIS ABABA | Xinhua |  The Ethiopian government has disclosed its plan to introduce nearly half a million electric vehicles (EVs) in 10 years as part of an ongoing transition to electric mobility.

The Ethiopian government initially worked to import about 148,000 electric automobiles and 48,555 electric buses as part of its 10-year strategic plan. The Ethiopian Ministry of Transport and Logistics said in a statement issued late Thursday that the initial 10-year plan is achieved within just the first two years of the implementation period from 2021 to 2030.

Thanks to the realization of the decade-long plan ahead of schedule, the ministry said it has now revised the national 10-year strategic plan with a new target of importing 439,000 EVs within the reported period.

The ministry said various incentives have been put in place to accelerate the East African country’s transition to electric mobility.

Bareo Hassen, state minister of transport and logistics, said the Ethiopian government has allowed duty-free import of EV parts to be assembled in the country, a 5 percent tax on partially assembled EVs, and a 15 percent tax on imports of fully assembled EVs.

“The tax exemption introduced for the importation of electric vehicles, which is significantly lower as compared to the tax imposed on gasoline-powered vehicles, is intended to encourage electric mobility in the country,” the statement quoted Hassen as saying.

As part of the 10-year strategic plan, the Ethiopian government will also set up a total of 2,226 charging stations across the country, including 1,176 stations in the capital of Addis Ababa and 1,050 across regional cities.

According to incomplete statistics, there are roughly 1.2 million vehicles in Ethiopia, with a big chunk of them being well over 20 years old. Most of the cars on the road are secondhand imports, and black smoke is often seen rising from the rear of these cars.

Hassen said the transition to electric mobility would benefit Ethiopia economically by saving a large amount of much-needed foreign currency spent on fuel purchases each year.

The East African country spent about 6 billion U.S. dollars on fuel imports in 2023, with more than half of that going to fuel vehicles, according to the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport and Logistics. In addition, pollution levels in city centers from these vehicles are reportedly off the charts.

The Ethiopian government’s push for electric mobility is also encouraging the private sector to seize the opportunity, mainly through importing and assembling electric vehicles in the country.

One such private company is the Belayneh Kindie Metal Engineering Complex, which assembles electric minibuses locally using components imported from China. China’s Golden Dragon Company supplies components to the local company, which assembles EV minibuses and 12-meter large buses to meet the country’s ever-growing demand for electric vehicles.

Speaking to Xinhua recently, Besufekad Shewaye, general manager of the Ethiopian firm, said the company is witnessing a promising market in Ethiopia courtesy of the country’s abundant hydropower energy sources.

“Since mid-2023, we have imported completely dismantled electric vehicles, assembled 216 electric minibuses, and made them available to the Ethiopian market,” Shewaye said, noting that the company has so far sold 50 percent of the assembled electric minibuses to transport service providers and government agencies, among others. ■



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