Nigeria announced its signature to the Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) Declaration at the International Transport Forum’s 2024 Summit. They enthusiastically join three other African nations, Ghana, Kenya, and Rwanda, by pledging to work towards all new sales of cars and vans being zero emission by 2040.

This signal of ambition from the continent’s most populous nation demonstrates a clear step in their electric vehicle (EV) transition. They join an international community of more than 230 stakeholders from the entire transportation value chain, including manufacturers, investors, and governments, aligning behind a single timeline to phase out internal combustion engines in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Nigeria has an immense opportunity to lessen its dependency on imported fossil fuel vehicles, the health impacts of which lead to about 1,500 premature deaths annually. Swapping these dirty passenger vehicles, which currently dominate the market and account for nearly three-quarters of the country’s transport-related CO2 emissions, with zero-emission cars and vans would greatly improve air quality and public health, particularly in urban areas.

As a regional leader in this clean transition, Nigeria has put forth a series of ambitious policy measures to combat this growing threat. During COP26, they committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2060. This pledge aligns with achieving increasing EV uptake and local production. Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, launched in 2022 to support the 2060 net zero target, establishes ambitious targets for EV adoption. According to the plan, electric vehicles will constitute 60% of the total market by 2050 and 100% by 2060. The plan also includes mode-shift measures to encourage the transition from passenger cars to public transport and two- and three-wheelers by 2050.

Nigeria’s goal to stimulate investment in domestic EV production is the focus of their National Action Plan for Development of Electric Vehicles (EVDP). With a target of at least 30% in local production by 2032, the EVDP seeks to strengthen Nigeria’s economy by reducing the country’s reliance on imported vehicles. Financial incentives for manufacturers to invest in electric vehicles, such as reduced import duties and tax breaks, are important parts of the plan.

To support EV adoption after 2030, the government has set a goal of installing 3,000 chargers annually. However, access to electricity can make charging in rural areas difficult. By leveraging the nation’s experience with electric two-wheelers, rural mini-grids can address the gaps in charging infrastructure and provide clean energy choices for rural communities.

Nigeria is embarking on its electrification journey, and by signing the ZEV Declaration, the country has taken an important step towards decarbonizing road transport. Policy measures will prove crucial in unlocking innovative business solutions and signaling the private sector for investment in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure across the country.