If most countries agree to end thermal vehicles around 2035, Ethiopia wants to go much faster. The Minister of Transport and Logistics announced that “ cars will soon no longer be able to enter Ethiopia unless they are electric “. What is behind this surprise announcement?
Ethiopia goes all-electric
Alemu Sime, the Ethiopian Minister of Transport and Logistics, held a speech important Tuesday January 30, 2024. He presented the completion of a major plan to transform the country’s supply chain. He took advantage of this moment to announce that a historic decision had been taken. Also in charge of the transport sector, he affirmed that “ to enter Ethiopian territory, cars must now be electric “. A turning point as radical as it is astonishing.
In his speech, Minister Sime then highlighted “ implementing new practices in strategic business “. He said the country is working to establish charging stations for electric cars. A “ top priority » for Ethiopia according to him. Before concluding that the country’s difficulties in “ access to foreign currency resources had contributed to its inability to continue importing gasoline and diesel “. And that’s the heart of the matter.
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How can we explain this strategy in an emergency?
Indeed, since 2021, the country has suffered very worrying inflation. Several factors can explain this situation: the decline in agricultural production due to climatic conditions (drought), numerous internal conflicts, and the shortage of foreign currencies. Ethiopia is even in default of payment. At the end of 2023, Addis Ababa was unable to honor a $33 million interest payment. After Zambia and Ghana, it is the third African country to default on its debt.
Concretely, the country can no longer import oil. The government’s desire to go 100% electric is probably largely motivated by this reason. Although it must be recognized that Ethiopia has invested massively in its energy infrastructure for 20 years. Moreover, 97% of its electricity comes from renewable energies. The country will even inaugurate the largest hydroelectric power station in Africa. There is therefore still a strong strategy on the subject of electrification.
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We are seeing an urgent switch to all-electric technology to respond to economic pressures. But it also appears to be part of a broader strategy that has been underway for several decades. We will now have to see how this transition is implemented in practice.
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