The transport sector is responsible for approximately 67% of Kenya’s energy-related CO2 emissions (2015) and currently accounts for 11% of the country’s total emissions (2022). The sectoral target, as communicated in Kenya’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) is to reduce 3Mt CO2e by 2025 and 4.7 Mt CO2e by 2030. Road transport accounts for 98% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transport according to the latest GHG inventory (2015). Accelerating the introduction of zero emission vehicles thus holds significant mitigation potential. Kenya’s State Department of Transport and GIZ are working together to improve the regulatory framework supporting energy efficiency of vehicles in the country through the Introducing Measures, Pathways and Roadmaps for Optimizing Vehicle Efficiency and Electrification (IMPROVE) project.
Kenya’s transport sector is developing dynamically. While the majority of trips in urban areas are still made on foot or by bicycle, car and motorcycle ownership is increasing rapidly. A privatised public transport system of minibuses, called matatus, serves Kenya’s cities and inter-city links. To improve public transport services and reduce emissions, several development partners are working to develop a mass rapid transit system for the Nairobi metropolitan area. Electric mobility is another priority mitigation measure for the Ministry of Transport.
Funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the in cooperation with GIZ’s Promotion of Electric Mobility in Kenya project aims to enhance the regulatory environment and scale the use and charging of electric vehicles and promote mutual learning around the key challenges and opportunities identified.
As over 90% of the electricity in the Kenyan grid is already generated from renewable sources, accelerating e-mobility offers a high potential for reducing GHG emission and air pollutants.Electric mobility is emerging in Kenya’s transport sector in both urban and rural areas, with the introduction of a small number of privately owned electric vehicles for private use and taxis, as well as pilot trials of electric vehicles for small-scale freight transport and shipping in rural areas.
Kenya is also a major freight hub in the region, with the Port of Mombasa connecting not only Kenya, but also the landlocked countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and eastern DR Congo and South Sudan to international trade routes. Most freight is currently transported by road, but the Kenyan government has started to shift freight from road to rail, with the aim of shifting 50% of capacity on the Northern Corridor to the new standard gauge railway currently already running from Mombasa to Nairobi.
From 2017-2021, the Advancing Transport Climate Strategies (TraCS) project supported the State Department of Transport and state agencies to in setting up of a climate change coordination unit and capacity development for prioritization and implementation of mitigation actions in the transport sector.