Zimbabwe’s electric bike scheme helps women do business Leave a comment

Al Jazeera look at how electric bikes in rural Zimbabwe are setting women on a path to prosperity.

Video Transcript

HARU MUTASA: Charlotte Cunningham’s chickens are ready for the markets. And this three-wheeler known as zomba, which means to go in Zimbabwe is going to help her take them there. The farmer pays an equivalent of $15 a month with a group of friends to lease the electric power to motorcycles. She can now sell her goods much further away from a small village.

SHYLET KANDENGA: Before I got this bike, I couldn’t come this far. Now I sell my chickens and vegetables at a business center that’s 20 kilometers away. I can get more customers here and more money even carry more goods.

HARU MUTASA: The bikes are being tested by a local startup that’s leasing the motorcycles to women in the community.

FADZAI MAVHUNA: Our aim was to bring green mobility solutions to women in rural communities because we noticed that women underrated. And they spend most of their time doing the household chores instead of making money and improving their incomes. So we thought that if the pilot would test with the women to see if they are going to improve their livelihoods. And if the our product is suitable to be used by many other small scale farmers.

HARU MUTASA: The solar charged lithium ion batteries the bikes used are charged in here. This is a solar charging station. 18 batteries can be charged in here at the same time. On a good day when there’s lots of sunlight, it can take about seven or eight hours to charge a battery. So in the community, whenever someone has a flat battery, they just come in here and swap it for a fully charged one.

The bikes made in China and assembled in the capital Harare are proving useful in communities with no reliable public transport or tarred roads. Passengers call or send a WhatsApp message to schedule pickup times. The drivers say they can make up to $8 a day transporting people. Money that helped make men more financially independent in Zimbabwe, a country where jobs are scarce. Haru Mutasa, Al Jazeera, Hwedza, Zimbabwe.

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