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Kenya’s President Ruto opens electric motorcycle plant

By , Africa editor
Kenya , 27 Jul 2023
President of Kenya, William Ruto, yesterday officially opened East Africa's largest electric motorcycle assembly plant.
President of Kenya, William Ruto, yesterday officially opened East Africa's largest electric motorcycle assembly plant.

President of Kenya, William Ruto, has officially opened Roam Park, East Africa's largest electric motorcycle assembly plant.

Technology company Roam, which develops, designs and deploys electric vehicles tailored for Africa, initially unveiled the plant in March. However, on Tuesday, the president was given an exclusive tour of the plant’s production floor.

In his speech at the plant, Ruto commended the company’s efforts towards advancing Kenya's sustainability agenda through the company’s electric motorcycles, the Roam Air.

Roam’s 10,000 square metre facility is the largest electric motorcycle assembly plant in East Africa, with an annual production capacity of 50,000 units that the company say will be reached in a few years.

The opening ceremony of the facility was attended by cabinet secretaries, officials from parastatals, and politicians from various counties (geographic regions in Kenya).

In a statement, Roam said the event not only celebrated the launch of Roam Park , but also highlighted Kenya's commitment to embracing clean mobility solutions and fostering innovation in the automotive sector.

The launch of Roam’s plant comes at a time when analysts are forecasting growth of the Africa electric vehicle market. Research firm Mordor Intelligence says Africa’s electric vehicle market was valued at $11.94 billion in 2021, and is projected to reach $21.39 billion by 2027; a compounded annual growth rate of 10.2%.

Kenya and South Africa lead electric mobility in Africa, according to Statista, which says electric vehicles' sales on the continent have overall increased in recent years, although remain the lowest worldwide.

Ruto said the facility showcases Kenya's potential to become a leader in clean transportation solutions in Africa. “This initiative aligns perfectly with our national goals to reduce carbon emissions and promote clean energy alternatives.

“The assembly plant will not only contribute to our environmental goals, but also foster economic growth by creating job opportunities and nurturing local talent in the automotive industry."

Founded in 2017, Roam has tapped into the expertise of Brett Mangel, former Tesla chief operations officer, to oversee operations at the facility. At Tesla, Mangel focused on service operations in Europe, including the Model 3 launch.

Currently, Roam has more than 150 employees, within design, engineering and production to ensure quality and affordability of the electric motorcycles, and is now building local capacity in the local skills base.

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