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The Nerve: The world’s growing appetite for electric cars will drive growth in Africa

The world has warmed by approximately 0.85oC for about 13 decades now, but each of the last three decades has been warmer than any preceding decade since 1850. Over the last five decades, human activities – particularly the burning of fossil fuels – have released carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases enough to trap additional heat in the lower atmosphere and affect the global climate.

The result of this global warming, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) is that between 2030 and 2050, there will be approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.

There is also the direct damage cost of $2-4 billion on health every year by 2030. To address these challenges several organisations and countries around the world are promoting low carbon economies through several means, including the sustainable use of renewable energy sources.

With the transport sector the fastest growing contributor to climate emissions, contributing about 23 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2010, the world is fast embracing cleaner energy solutions driving the growth in global sales of electric vehicles.

According to a report by industry research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance Limited (NEF), by 2040, 55 percent of all new car sales and 33 percent of the global fleet will be electric. The report further noted that electrified buses and cars will displace a combined 7.3 million barrels per day of transportation fuel in 2040.

Billions for battery metals

Hence, billions in investments are pouring in to drive research and development of new models of electric vehicles, the batteries that power them and superchargers that ensure the batteries are recharged as quickly as possible.

Governments in different countries around the world are tightening emission standards and are supporting the adoption of electric vehicles by offering financial incentive schemes for the purchase of these vehicles. All these have benefited the electric vehicle market, which is projected to reach $362.7 billion by 2025.

While Africa, where more than half of the population did not have access to electricity in 2016, may not be ready for the electric car revolution, the continent can still gain from the revolution. Africa is blessed with essential metals for making rechargeable batteries used in electric vehicles. From Lithium to Cobalt, Copper, Manganese and Nickel, Africa is rich in battery metals and if well harnessed, these free gifts of nature have the potential to further drive growth on the continent.


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