Rwanda continues to impress Africa and possibly the world with its exceptional innovations and development. just recently Mara Group opened its first factory in Rwanda as the company hopes to pioneer a brand of African made smartphones and now the country makes history with news that it will launch a model of electric motorbikes and bicycles this week as part of broader efforts toward smart cities and a clean energy-oriented transport arrangement.
Safi limited is a local start-up company committed to raising sustainable and efficient ways of solving transportation problems in east Africa. the company is responsible for the production of electric motorbikes and bicycles. Both motorbikes and bicycles will have smart locks installed on their tyres that users can only unlock the bikes from charging docks across Kigali (Rwanda’s capital) with a downloaded mobile app on their smartphones and smartcards would be provided for users without a smartphone, however, Customers would use means such as mobile money or bank transfers to pay for using the bikes while card users will rely on agents to load their cards.
The firm says the prices will be determined by Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authorities (RURA) and will be communicated during the official launch. According to reports, the bikes will be available to be shared by the general public.
The arrangement will first be rolled out in Kigali, Huye, Rubavu and Musanze.
Tony Adesina, Safi’s CEO while speaking in a news conference in Kigali made a statement to reporters saying, “We are here in Rwanda because of the approach we have seen the government taking in reducing the use of fossil fuel (such as the car-free day) as one of the key aspects toward achieving a cleaner environment.”
Adesina also noted that: “As we unveil this innovation, it is key to understand that it comes with different arms, including the construction of stations where the bikes will be stationed, skill development centres where operators will be quarterly receiving intensive training and an assembling plant for the bikes which will all enhance the employability of Rwandans,”.
“We are targeting all segments of society, from students to middle-class. Since cyclists don’t require a permit we believe that we will have many customers signing up to our system,” he said.
According to the firm it has invested around $13 million in the technology and plans to roll out at least 3,000 electronic bicycles, 2,500 smart bikes, and 1,500 electronic scooters.
It is in the process of setting up about 1000 charging and parking docks across Kigali city and in three other towns in the country.
With the firm’s lead engineer being a woman, Adesina is also of the view that the innovation seeks to employ 25 per cent to 30 per cent female working capacity to build assembly capacities as well as recruitment.
Based on the several government clean energy initiatives, he added, penetrating the local market will not be a challenge.