UGANDA: InfraCo, DOB and Mobility54 Invest in Zembo’s Electric Motorcycles

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UGANDA: InfraCo, DOB and Mobility54 invest in Zembo's electric motorbikes © Zembo

Investment firm InfraCo Africa is partnering with Dutch investor DOB Equity and Mobility 54 to invest €3 million in Zembo's operations. The company provides electric motorcycles for transportation in Kampala, Uganda.

InfraCo Africa continues to roll out its green finance in Africa. The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) investment company is entering into an agreement with DOB Equity, an impact investor dedicated to East African countries, and Mobility 54, a venture capital firm operating in Africa under the umbrella of Toyota Tsusho Corporation and CFAO (Corporation For Africa & Overseas) Group. The three partners are investing €3 million in Zembo Motorcycles SMC’s electric mobility solution.

The company, based in the Ugandan capital Kampala, assembles electric motorcycles and puts them on the road. The city of 1.6 million people counts motorcycle cabs, known locally as “boda boda,” among its means of transportation. Zembo offers its drivers fully electric motorcycles, facilitating their acquisition through a pay-as-you-go system, which is quite common in the solar home systems segment in rural sub-Saharan Africa.

Deploy 2,000 electric motorcycle cabs by 2023

Drivers do not need to buy or own batteries or wait for them to be charged. They simply exchange a dead battery for a fully charged one at one of Zembo’s battery exchange stations. The deployment of battery exchange stations is therefore a major challenge for Zembo, which powers these facilities with solar energy or electricity from the national grid.

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“Zembo has a proven track record of delivering two-wheeled electric vehicles to the market and our joint effort with DOB Equity and Mobility 54 to expand the business will enable the company to reduce urban air pollution, create jobs and promote economic development in Kampala,” says Gilles Vaes, InfraCo Africa’s managing director.

The start-up founded by Etienne Saint-Sernin and Daniel Dreher currently has a fleet of 200 electric motorcycle cabs running on 20 battery exchange stations. With the investment from InfraCo, DOB and Mobility 54, the company plans to sell or lease 2,000 electric motorcycles by mid-2023. The company will also need to build 40 new battery swap stations by the first quarter of 2023.

Jean Marie Takouleu

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