Ethiopia Takes Bold Step Towards Sustainable Transport by Banning Gasoline Cars

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
2 Min Read

In a bold move, the Ethiopian government has issued a sweeping ban on the importation of privately-owned gasoline-powered vehicles, allowing only the importation of electric cars for individual use. This announcement was made by the Minister of Transport before the Ethiopian Parliament’s Committee on Urban Infrastructure. The decision, driven by both environmental and economic considerations, marks a significant shift in the country’s automotive landscape.

The severity of this measure may raise eyebrows, especially in a nation where 50% of the population lacks access to electricity. Nevertheless, the government is resolute in its commitment to promoting the electric vehicle market. A year ago, it had already lifted numerous import taxes to incentivize the purchase and establishment of assembly plants within the country.

With only 7,200 electric vehicles currently on Ethiopia’s roads out of a total of 1.2 million vehicles, the adoption rate has been slow. The relatively high purchase price, rarely dipping below €32,000 for a used electric vehicle, and the scarcity of charging infrastructure contribute to this sluggish uptake. In the capital, only three electric charging stations are operational.

Abundant and Affordable Electricity

Despite these challenges, Ethiopia boasts cheap electricity, with the lowest purchase price in Africa at €0.006 per kilowatt. The country produces nearly 5,000 megawatts of electricity, a figure set to double with the construction of the mega-dam on the Nile. This economic argument holds weight for Ethiopia, which spends over five billion dollars annually on petroleum imports, depleting its already limited foreign currency reserves.

The government’s ambitious push towards electric vehicles aligns with its broader strategy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, cut emissions, and bolster the domestic electric vehicle industry. While the transition poses challenges, the abundant and affordable electricity in Ethiopia positions it as a potential leader in the shift towards sustainable transportation in Africa.

Soukaina Sghir

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