How Electric Tricycles Are Solving Farmers’ Transportation Challenges In Zimbabwe


Dec. 30, 2022, 1:22 p.m.

The majority of people in rural African communities are small-scale farmers. They tend to live far from major roads and spend several hours a day – and up to 30% of their income – on commuting and performing chores like fetching water or transporting their goods to markets.

A woman-led enterprise, Mobility for Africa, seeks to help improve the quality of life, create economic opportunities and increase access to market for these rural communities.

Mobility for Africa is currently focused on setting up fleets of electric tricycles, called Hambas, with off-grid battery charging and swapping. The enterprise targets areas where there is already access to the power grid and builds solar stations to supplement the existing electricity supply.

Its Hambas can carry loads of up to 400 kilograms – several times heavier than motorbikes can – are very easy to learn to drive and do not require a licence to operate. The rental of these Hambas costs around $80 per month, which is typically shared between three or four women.

Mobility for Africa operates three different revenue models: farmers or small business owners can group together to rent the tricycle on a monthly basis; a lease-to-purchase model; or drivers can use the tricycles to provide transportation and logistics services on a commission basis.

Do you have an article that can be relevant to the African Tech space?

Submit your news stories, articles or press releases to


“Our model is to build strategic partnerships with agribusinesses that rely on small-scale farmers as well as development sector organisations that are working to improve productivity. For example, we will be partnering with the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers and dairy producers to help small-scale dairy farmers transport their milk to the collection centres,” Shantha Bloemen shares.

“For the lease-to-purchase scheme, the total fee is approximately $2,200 (inclusive of one year of servicing and driving lessons), split over 22 months. In the case of the dairy farmers, a subsidy from We Effect (a Swedish NGO) contributes $1,600, and the farmers each pay around $30 per month from their milk income over two years.”

“For our service model, the total fees for a trip vary based on the distance. The drivers receive a 30% commission.”

Over the next 12 to 18 months, Shantha reveals that the enterprise wants to prove it can execute consistently by setting up 12 sites, and operate fleets totalling over 600 vehicles in Zimbabwe, across various industries.

“We are also looking at how we can expand into neighbouring countries and are already working on similar offtake agreements with small-scale farmers in Zambia and Mozambique. We will predominantly choose locations where we can work with partners that rely on small-scale farmers,” the founder states.

Earlier this month, Mobility for Africa raised a $2 million investment from InfraCo Africa, to enable them to build out their charging infrastructure and reach more rural communities.


tag: Africa, Farmers, Agribusiness, Electric Bikes, Entrepreneurship, Zimbabwe, Transportation, mobility,


Digital Times Africa Author

We curate relevant and credible content for startups, entrepreneurs and technology lovers in Africa.