The Impact of the Electric Vehicle on the Southern African Development Community

The Regional Observatory at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) is a flagship initiative that has been created to anticipate key emerging disruptors that will have a major impact on the member states of the SADC.


Electric vehicles are seen as new developments of the same generation as Artificial Intelligence and mobile technology, but we forget that in the early 1900 almost a third of all cars in the US were electric. What do these developments mean within a global context? Pushed by unacceptably high levels of pollution in their most populous cities, China and India have pledged to cap emissions and roll-out electric vehicles by 2030.

This is an ambitious target with only Norway aiming to get to full EV roll-out by 2025. The impact on Southern Africa could be significant as the region both consumes vehicles from the rest of the world, produces vehicles for the world market and is the major sources of raw materials needed for both types of vehicles – namely oil on the one hand and cobalt and lithium on the other as well as coal and a potential unlimited source of renewable energy. In terms of mobility, Southern Africa still has a deficit when compared to other regions, millions of people still walk or make use of unreliable public transport to reach schools, clinics and employment opportunities. How can we accelerate their access to services?

RSVP: Talitha Bertelsmann-Scott – talitha.bertelsmann-scott@saiia.org.za

Pippa Segall – cpt.admin@saiia.org.za

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  • Henning Suhr
    • Talitha Bertelsmann-Scott and Tanja Hichert


      The Impact of the Electric Vehicle on the Southern African Development Community: A Futures Scenario Discussion by KAS and SAIIA
      read now
      November 16, 2017
      Jan Smuts House, SAIIA - Johannesburg
      Similar event: SADC Regional Observatory
      The participants during the roundtable discussion