In Africa, public transport is fragmented and highly inefficient. Mass mobility transportation systems largely contribute to CO2 emissions. Nairobi based startup, Mazi Mobility, plans to address issues faced by the public transport industry in the Global South by electrifying the motorcycle (‘boda’) industry.
Cities across Africa are undergoing a mobility revolution spurred by rapid urbanization, an increasing energy demand and economic growth. However, the results of inadequate infrastructure have led to high levels of congestion and poor air quality. These challenges are presenting entrepreneurs with the opportunity to pursue an equitable and cleaner future through innovation. And Mazi plans to do just that.
Mazi is launching electric bikes to accelerate the transition to clean mobility. The startup is introducing battery swapping stations that provide on-demand energy, reducing transportation costs by 50%. Furthermore, they will use the Internet of Things (IoT) to mitigate range anxiety and optimize e-boda routes through Machine Learning (ML) to ensure a 99% service uptime for riders. Their key features include a choice between a single and dual battery, capable of up to 70km and 140km of range, respectively. Mazi is taking a multi-stakeholder approach to drive the e-mobility sector forward. They are working with boda operators, technical institutions and manufacturers to ensure the successful implementation of their service.
Jesse Forrester, founder and CEO at Mazi, is a tenacious, young, impact-driven entrepreneur. The team strongly believes in the confluence of social impact and profit – a vision being brought to life through their latest venture.
“Mazi is not just an EV company, we are advocates for a sustainable mass mobility change ”, says Jesse. He further adds that, at Mazi, “we believe that Africans should be able to move efficiently, and affordably across cities at less than the price of personal vehicle ownership while reducing CO2 emissions. What industry is better to see this change than the boda one? Mazi is taking a long approach to mobility, we don’t want to just have the same status quo but with electric vehicles. At Mazi we move people, data and things. Twende Kazi na Mazi!”
The Satgana team has been closely involved with Mazi over the past 4 months. It’s been an inspiring undertaking and we’re excited to now publicly announce the launch of our first portfolio venture. This collaboration has resulted in hands-on venture-building in an effort to help achieve SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth), SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 13 (Climate action) within the e-mobility sector.
At Satgana, our aim is to build and invest into startups alongside purpose-driven entrepreneurs, wherever they are, by using innovation-led and market-based approaches to solve the greatest social and environmental challenges of our time. And with Mazi, we hope to write a new chapter in the history of e-mobility in Africa.
The uptake of e-mobility is expected to increase globally, and with it comes a myriad of opportunities. In many East African cities like Nairobi, bodas form the backbone of public transportation. According to the Motorcycle Assembly Association of Kenya, the industry generates over $1.4 billion annually in Kenya. This number presents a massive opportunity to scale for startups in the sector, large returns for investors, and impact not just on environmental sustainability but also economic empowerment.
Transport is the fastest growing greenhouse-gas-emitting sector in the world, responsible for around 67% of Kenya’s energy-related CO2 emissions. To see results, adequate CO2 reduction requires changing the transport emissions trajectory through the development of an integrated e-mobility ecosystem. This is further envisioned in the Paris Agreement that seeks to electrify 20% of all road vehicles to curb carbon emissions by 2030.
With Kenya’s electricity grid predominantly powered by renewable energy, it is just one of the many African countries well equipped to lead the transition to e-mobility on the continent. The rise of greentech, the sharing economy, and electrification – many people associate these concepts with urban mobility. Analyses conducted by various market research companies show that 2030 will mark a turning point where environmentally friendly transport will be the norm in emerging markets like Nairobi.
Mazi Mobility launches on 11 May 2021, visit mazimobility.com for more information.
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