According to Electrek, Ethiopia spent about $6 billion on fossil fuel imports in 2023, and more than half of that money was used to fuel transportation vehicles.
As a measure to address this issue, the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport and Logistics has announced that cars can now only be imported into Ethiopia if they are electric cars.
In February 2023, the European Union passed a regulation banning the sale of combustion engine cars for member countries from 2035 – joining a list of US states, Canada, Japan, Singapore, India, New Zealand and many other countries that have enacted similar bans. However, Ethiopia may not wait until 2035.
Electrek reports that Ethiopia is trying to ban vehicles using combustion engines immediately.
According to the latest information from the Ethiopian Parliament, Alemu Sime, the Minister of Transport and Logistics of Ethiopia, has announced the completion of the country’s Logistics Management System Plan this week. While specific details have not been disclosed, Minister Sime stated that ” a decision has been made that vehicles cannot enter Ethiopia unless they are electric vehicles.”
Minister Sime further emphasized that the implementation of the new measures will contribute to achieving the “Green Transportation” plan across Ethiopia. In addition, Sime also stated that the establishment of charging stations for electric cars will be a top priority.
According to some assessments, the main reason for this decision is that Ethiopia is facing a severe foreign exchange shortage, affecting the ability to import oil and other goods.
While the transition towards the goal of 100% electric cars is largely because of this, it is not entirely so. In fact, Ethiopia has invested heavily in its energy infrastructure for the past 20 years (97% of their energy comes from renewable sources). They are preparing to inaugurate a hydropower plant with a capacity of 6,500MW, which is expected to be the largest in Africa.
Therefore, this transition is partly due to economic pressures, but also seems to be part of a comprehensive strategy that has been implemented over several decades.
The reliability of the electricity supply in some areas still has many issues to be addressed. Therefore, improving the stability of the power supply across the country will be the important next step that this country needs to take.