Features
24 Aug 22

Gearing up for the transition to green transport in AME

The first of a two-part Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Intelligence report, produced by Oxford Business Group (OBG) in partnership with General Motors (GM), explores the key role electric vehicle (EV) production could play in cutting carbon emissions and creating viable sustainable mobility solutions across Africa and the Middle East.

Titled “Gearing up for the green automotive transition”, the first report focuses on the environmental component of ESG. Overseen by OBG’s ESG Intelligence division, the analysis charts the seismic shifts under way in the global automotive industry, and the implications for production and consumption in Africa and the Middle East.

An appetite for innovation

The role of research and development (R&D) activities in developing technologies and innovations required for low-carbon and zero-emission vehicles are among other topics explored.

As an example of such innovation, Swedish-Kenyan technology company Roam has launched an electric mass transit bus, the Roam Rapid, which is specifically designed to address the unique challenges of public transport in Nairobi and Africa as a whole. It offers a solution for the growing number of cities implementing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems across the continent and is the first of its kind in Kenya. It can carry 90 passengers and has a range of 36km and can fully charge in less than two hours.

Meanwhile, OBG's report also considers the importance of ensuring EVs and automated vehicles (AVs) meet the expectations of consumers, with safety, reliability and affordability among the criteria. It also notes the importance of ensuring that related infrastructure development, such as EV charging facilities, keeps pace with vehicle production in markets across the Middle East and Africa.

In addition, the report highlights the potential for EV and AV technologies to be integrated into the region’s smart city developments, thereby helping reduce both emissions and traffic congestion. Here, the report includes a case study of how green automated taxis could revolutionise transport in Dubai.

GM's big plans for expansion across AME

It also maps out GM’s evolving footprint across the Middle East and Africa, both of which are key destinations for the manufacturer’s environmental growth plans. 

Luay Al Shurafa, GM’s President and Managing Director, Africa & Middle East talks about how the company is prioritising inclusive climate solutions as it targets a zero-emissions, all-electric future.

“Our commitment to this here in the Middle East is evidenced by our target of a 95% reduction in our annual operational carbon footprint in the UAE and our plan to launch 13 EVs in the region by 2025.. In the UAE, by 2035, we will have reduced our CO₂ emissions by more than 24,000 metric tonnes, and we are planning to make all our global products and operations carbon neutral by 2040,” he said.

Jana Treeck, OBG’s Managing Director for the Middle East, said: “The green transition in the automotive industry is gaining pace worldwide, bolstered by new regulations and a growing sense of urgency around emission reduction goals. With plenty more still to do, the opportunities for stakeholders to play a key part in curtailing carbon emissions across the Middle East and Africa, and make production processes more sustainable in an era of green growth, are huge.”

Gearing up for the green automotive transition” forms part of a series of tailored studies that OBG is currently producing with its partners, including ESG Intelligence and Future Readiness reports, and other highly relevant, go-to research tools, such as sector-specific Growth and Recovery Outlook articles and interviews. The second part of this ESG Intelligence report, produced in partnership with GM, will focus on the social and governance aspects of ESG, and will be released later this year.

Image: Oxford Business Group

Authored by: Alison Pittaway