There are more than 700,000 motorcycle-taxis, commonly known as “boda-boda”, in Uganda. Boda-bodas are the main form of transportation for most people in the region for a number of reasons: affordability, the ease with which they move through dense traffic, and limited public transportation. Boda-bodas provide an important form of income for 5% of the population and often comprise the only available and affordable transport in rural areas.
However, a new model of motorcycle taxis powered by electricity offers a game-changing innovation with both economic and environmental advantages. Not only do they improve the revenues earned by drivers due to their lower energy and maintenance costs, they also reduce pollution by cutting emissions and noise.
Zembo (Zero Emission Motorcycle Boda) is a start-up company that provides sustainable mobility solutions for Africa. Zembo’s electric motorcycles and network of solar charging stations have been revolutionising the boda-boda market in Uganda since 2019. With PREO’s support Zembo aims to extend their off-grid solar station network to peri-urban and rural Uganda, along Masaka road, a major 120km artery connecting the capital city of Kampala to the southwestern town of Masaka.
Within Zembo’s project to connect Kampala and Masaka with a corridor of off-grid solar recharge stations, the PREO grant will enable Zembo to create 20 new jobs for technicians who will undergo training to service an additional fleet of e-motorcycles. The fleet will be expanded by 6 e-motorcycles for every off-grid station that serves local villages and surrounding areas. Providing the first corridor of solar-powered, off-grid battery recharging stations for e-motorcycles in Africa, will create long-term additional revenue for drivers and so significantly impact their household income.