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Home Startups Zimbabwe’s InfraCo Africa partners with Mobility for Africa to scale access to clean transport in rural areas

Zimbabwe’s InfraCo Africa partners with Mobility for Africa to scale access to clean transport in rural areas

by Milcah Lukhanyu
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 InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), has signed an agreement committing US$2 million to scale the offering of Mobility for Africa, an electric mobility company delivering affordable, cargo-carrying e-tricycles and solar-powered battery charging solutions for underserved communities in rural Zimbabwe.

Mobility for Africa’s Director and CEO, Shantha Bloemen said , “We are grateful to InfraCo Africa for this investment and their vote of confidence. It will allow us to demonstrate how our fleet management system can be replicated to many rural communities. But it also signals that a rural woman, our primary customer, should no longer be ignored and acknowledges the critical role they play in agricultural and economic development. Mobility for Africa knows that by providing green shared mobility solutions to rural communities, especially women, we can have a catalytic impact on local economic activity, reduce gender inequality and contribute to building resilience against climate change.

Known locally as ‘Hambas,’ Mobility for Africa’s electric three-wheelers service the daily transport needs of small-scale farmers – often women’s cooperative groups – who buy or lease the trikes to transport their produce to markets. Reduced journey times and access to markets in larger towns enable farmers to sell their produce at higher prices whilst also minimising post-harvest losses increasing income generation, supporting SDG 2.

Healthcare professionals also use ‘hambas’ to reach patients across large geographical areas and rough terrain. The vehicles also enable the transportation of firewood, water and passengers, reducing the energy and time burden for women who have primary responsibility for domestic labour.

Designed without a straddle bar, the vehicles are comfortable for women to drive. “We are delighted to be working with Mobility for Africa to scale its exciting electric tricycle and solar-powered battery charging offering in rural Zimbabwe,” said InfraCo Africa’s Business Development Manager, Beatrice Muthoni, “As the first African off-road e-tricycle, ‘Hambas’ will transform access to affordable, clean transport enabling people to reach employment, education and healthcare as well as to transport goods to market and to support domestic labour. InfraCo Africa can leverage experience from our electric mobility investments elsewhere in East Africa. This is our first investment in Zimbabwe and we look forward to partnering with Mobility for Africa to scale its solution to addressing rural transport needs in the country.”

Visiting Domboshawa, the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Melanie Robinson said, “ I am delighted by news of this InfraCo Africa investment in Mobility for Africa, a woman-led start-up doing a great job providing climate-friendly transport to small scale Zimbabwean farmers, many of them women. Mobility for Africa’s Hamba electric tricycles are designed with women users in mind – I can testify to that as I’ve had a chance to ride one! We’d love to see much more green finance investing in Zimbabwe’s private sector.”

InfraCo Africa’s investment will finance four hundred new Hambas, six hundred batteries and eight new charging stations at strategic locations across eastern Zimbabwe. It is anticipated that the project will significantly scale Mobility for Africa’s business, enabling it to engage with more small scale farmers, especially women and grow the business case that by partnering with agricultural partners, it can demonstrate the financial sustainability and socio-economic impact of its model. It is anticipated that the company will then be well-positioned to attract further private sector finance with a view to scaling its offering to other customer groups and to new geographies across the region.

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