Electric Micromobility in Africa: Interview with Céleste Vogel from eWAKA

Ewaka Celeste Vogel partner spotlight

We believe cultivating partnerships is the key to creating successful shared mobility. With over 70 partners, so much innovation is happening right here in our network! This month we are bringing back our partner spotlight series with an interview from Céleste Vogel, CEO and Co-Founder of eWAKA – a platform for commuter and commercial electric micromobility fleets.

We first met Céleste and eWAKA as an applicant for our 2022 EmpowerWISM program. We were highly impressed by their plans to produce scalable mobility solutions where connectivity, efficiency and sustainability come first in the African ecosystem. Since then, eWAKA has had numerous new and exciting developments!

Keep reading for movmi’s catch up interview with Céleste Vogel. Learn more about our 2022 EmpowerWISM cohort here. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and background?

Before founding eWAKA, I worked in the financial and engineering industries for over 20 years as a legal executive, which has afforded me the ability to structure and lead complex projects in a rapidly evolving regulatory and legal environment.  I have a strong understanding of the need for effective standards in bolstering emerging economies having held senior management positions at SwissRe, ABB, and Credit Suisse. 

From an education perspective, I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Economics & International Studies from Ohio Wesleyan University and a Juris Doctor in law from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law in Chicago. I was admitted to the Bar in Illinois (USA) in 1994

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What is ewaka?

eWAKA is spearheading sustainable mobility to enhance Africa’s economic prospects by harnessing the power of electric micromobility vehicles. eWAKA’s services address frustrating and disruptive mobility experiences by offering a sustainable solution that will increase connectivity, improve efficiencies, and offer safe, environmentally friendly transportation. eWAKA offers multiple customer segments electric vehicle mobility options that decrease pollution such as greenhouse gases, Co2 and noise, while providing compelling affordability through low electricity prices as compared to fuel, off-grid solar power system solutions and overall low maintenance costs. 

Can you tell us a little bit about transportation in Africa and how micromobility fits into this ecosystem?

With countries racing to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming, the transportation sector has been identified as one of the key areas that can drastically reduce carbon emissions. The sector is the second-highest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Though the continent has one of the lowest motorization rates in the world, 42 vehicles per 1,000 persons compared to the world average of 182 vehicles per 1,000 persons, 40% of the continent’s total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions stem from transportation alone.

This sector is responsible for 24% of global carbon dioxide emissions. It is the fastest-growing sector of fossil fuel emissions. Exacerbating the polluting effects of transportation is the rapid uptake of two-and three-wheelers in Africa. UNEP (2021) noted that the average motorcycle is estimated to be 10 times more polluting per mile than a passenger car, light truck, or SUV. Moreover, hydrocarbons are dangerous to human health.

Motorcycles are 10 times more polluting per mile than a passenger car light truck or SUV

By 2040, 45-57% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s vehicles are projected to be two-wheelers. Given the rapid growth of urban populations and insufficient public transportation, these vehicles are faster and more convenient. However, these motorcycles are inefficient, poorly maintained, and highly polluting.

By adopting more cost-effective and environmentally friendly vehicles into transportation fleets, the African logistics sector can play a crucial role in helping the region tackle climate challenges while providing significant economic benefits to a number of critical industry sector value chains.  eWAKA is well-positioned to meet this growing demand. 

Electric mobility offers an opportunity to reshape the ecosystem and increase women participation in mobility services. Our gender inclusive business models and multi-modal offering seek to improve women participation and representation in this key sector. Leveraging key customer segment insights and expanding local production capabilities, eWAKA is poised for growth in 2023 with a full product line for multiple customer segments offering flexible rental options, subscription and purchase plans to meet commutes, personal well-being and net-zero targets. 

Tell us a little bit about ewaka's launch last year and what you have in store for 2023?

2022 was an exciting year for eWAKA.  As understanding localized constraints and variables is key to successfully deploying micro-mobility models and solutions, eWAKA conducted several pilot projects with target customer segments to further develop our product line. Through these pilot projects and numerous meetings with strategic partners, eWAKA developed a unique value add proposition for the last mile transportation, offering a complete ecosystem of electric vehicles and strategic IT support services.

For 2023, eWAKA will pursue strategic partnerships to expand our customer base by adding greater financing options and aggressively promoting the Shujaa rollout in Kenya, targeting the B2B sector as well as independent drivers.     

If you would like to connect with Céleste, send us a email to info@movmi.net and we'll make introductions.

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