Images courtesy of Spiro

The Electric Mobility Movement In Africa Is Starting To Show It Can Help Unlock Significant Employment Opportunities

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We have seen a lot of progress in the electric mobility sector on the African continent over the past five or so years in quite a number of countries. A lot of the action is being driven by local startups that are designing, developing, and then in collaboration with international contract manufacturers or similar, have their components built offshore and then imported as knocked-down kits to be assembled here in Africa. A lot of them are also working hard to increase the contribution of locally sourced components. The whole ecosystem does not just focus on the hardware, but also includes the software side of things, and a combination of locally developed and international platforms are being implemented.

This collaborative landscape therefore has the potential to create a lot of new employment opportunities internationally, and also especially in the local markets that these companies are operating as they scale up on the African continent. A lot of these firms are now transitioning from various phases of pilot programs to commercial rollouts, and this will help unlock some much needed employment opportunities on a continent with an incredibly young population as well as very high youth unemployment rates.

One of the key initiatives that need to be accelerated to unlock a strong locally-based talent pool is the mass rollout of technical training programs. There has already been some good introductory training sessions from the likes of the AfricaNEV. The Electric Vehicle Technician Training programs from the AfricaNEV are divided into two segments — an online virtual segment and a physical hands-on practical training. It is a good start, but as we will see below, there is a whole lot of capacity building that is now urgently needed on the African continent to build competencies and expertise to cover all the opportunities for employment in the electric mobility sector as the industry grows.

Here, I will use Spiro as an example. Spiro now has the largest fleet of electric motorcycles on the African continent, with well over 10,000 units now on the road in various countries. Spiro recently advertised a lot of job openings for roles in Kenya, India, and other places. This example gives us a good illustration of the opportunities that can be unlocked on the African continent.

Here are some of the roles advertised:

  • Battery System Design Architect
  • Powertrain System Architect for EV 2-Wheeler
  • Battery Swapping System Design
  • Test, Validation, and Reliability
  • Embedded System Design BMS H/W S/W
  • IT Hardware Architect
  • IT Hardware Lead
  • Vehicle Software Architect
  • Vehicle Software Lead
  • Senior Software Engineer
  • IoT EV Scooter-to-Cloud Architect
  • IoT EV Scooter-to-Cloud Lead
  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Product Manager EV Cloud Telematics
  • Tester QA
  • Smart Battery Swaps Platform Architect
  • Smart Battery Swaps Platform Lead
  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Data Engineering Data Architect
  • Data Engineering Lead
  • Senior Data Engineer
  • Maps Architect
  • Maps Lead
  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Product Manager Electronics Mechatronics
  • Product Manager Electronics
  • EV Cloud Telematics
  • Sourcing Manager Electronics
  • Sourcing Manager Mechanical Proprietary
  • Sourcing Manager Software Contract

As shown above, these are some exciting roles that in the medium- to long-term can be open in more places around the continent, boosting the whole e-mobility industry and the associated ecosystem. We really need to create more employment opportunities on the continent and I think transitioning to electric mobility can play a crucial role in this. These roles above are the more technical roles, and there many more roles that will be unlocked across the whole value chain, including commercial, sales, and marketing roles.

I spoke with the team at Spiro on this. Here is Shuvai Madanhire (MCIPD, M.Inst.D), Human Resources Officer at SPIRO, speaking on the employment opportunities in the electric mobility sector:

“A job in the emobility sector is not just a job; it is a mission. Whether you are based in Kenya or looking at our openings in India or another part of the world  , you are part of a transformative change. Here at Spiro for example, we have various verticals—from technology to operations and customer service—where one can find their niche. With our rapid growth, we also offer opportunities for vertical and lateral moves within the company, enabling a diverse and enriching career trajectory. We are a technology-first company. Our roles in IoT, cloud telematics, software engineering, platform architecture, and data engineering are about pushing the envelope in tech-based sustainable solutions. This is work that has a direct societal impact, from emissions reduction to resource optimization.”

Spiro’s head of communications, Lee Breheny, added: “The promise of the e-mobility sector is a shift in how industries conceive of transportation, energy, and technology. With the urgent need to decarbonize our economies and make urban living more sustainable, roles in this sector offer the chance to contribute to something meaningful. Across the board—from start-ups to established corporations—there is a surging demand for talent in areas such as battery technology, sustainable infrastructure, artificial intelligence, and smart grid solutions. It means whether you are a software developer, an energy storage specialist, or a customer service representative, you will be in demand in our sector. As the sector matures, we will nurture entire ecosystems of innovation that have the power to benefit society as a whole. Therefore, when you step into a career in e-mobility, you are not just clocking in and clocking out; you are working towards a more sustainable and equitable future.”

Images courtesy of Spiro

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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai

Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since.

Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has 734 posts and counting. See all posts by Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai