INTERVIEW: Agilitee earmarks $250 million investment in East Africa in year and a half

Dr Mandla Lamba, the Founder and CEO of Agilitee (PHOTO /Courtesy)

Fast rising South Africa based industrialist and billionaire, Dr. Mandla Lamba says Agilitee is looking to spend on the development of company’s East African operation through a manufacturing plant in Kenya, and has earmarked at least $250 million over the next 18 months.

Below are excerpts of the interview that aired on NTV Kenya;

QN: Could please introduce yourself and tell us what you do?

ANS: I’m Mandla Lamba. I’m the CEO and founder of Agilitee, which is the first electric vehicle, artificially intelligent, and green revolution Company in Africa which is the first, also black-owned in the world.

QN: What informed your journey into an industry that is not so famous in Africa?

ANS: I think the problems that we have in Africa haven’t met the kind of solutions they deserve because we are in Africa which is now post-colonial. We haven’t seen a new breed of leaders who are saying that now that we have been freed, how do we fix the environment, how do we bring solutions to the continent that will be able to economically liberate Africa? That’s where I saw a gap that this is where we should come in.

QN: Now that you’re making strides to enter east Africa, tell us the plans you have for us in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

ANS: We partnered before we closed the year last year with a company in Kenya called Remark Consultants. We had already formed our company in Kenya in 2021, so as we were planning to come to Kenya we decided to partner with them. This now brings to the market not as a company that is bringing products and solutions, but as one that is going to create employment for the Kenyans.

QN: How much investment you have put in to expand to Kenya?

ANS: We are actually working on a big plant as we speak now that is going to be imported into the country of Kenya from South Africa. What we have started to do before I get to this, we are opening a store. The first dealership of Agilitee in Kenya on the 21st of February, [2023]. This is also coupled with a launch of Agilitee in Kenya which we will make public in the due course. Where we will introduce the company to the Kenyans and the East African market. The targeted budget that we plan to spend on the development of the East African infrastructure, production, and manufacturing in Kenya, we are looking at atleast 250 million dollars over the next 18 months.

QN: What is the composition of your staff in terms of governance? Talk to us about that.

ANS: You won’t believe this, we have about 70% of our leadership is women, and 30% is men. And we have started rolling out our franchise and our flagship known as Agilitee express, which sale electric scooters and also rents them out, we with opening the first one in Zimbabwe, Harare in 2021, then December 2022, we opened in Cape Town, South Africa and also opened another in Johannesburg. We are also opening another one in Durban. All these are franchise stores that are owned by females.

QN: What would be the plan like for the Kenyans?

ANS: When you’re an African company, you’re not coming from outside Africa, you understand the needs and problems of our people and you’re part of the people. So, what we do, we build the franchise, the store it’s self, using our own resources and then a person would buy it from us and also we provide the in-house finance. This in-house finance that we provide, for them, is interest-free, which allows our people to own these franchises. We also provide consignment stock for six months to all our franchises.

QN: EVs are quite a new concept to the African market, what is your vision for the East African market, particularly for Kenya.

ANS: We are at the apex of the strength of Africa, we have been the wealthiest economy in the world because of the natural resources we have but unfortunately, when we came as Africans into power, it’s unfortunate that there already standards that were set, but with the EV, it’s part of a new world order which is very important for governments across the African continent to say we going to jump into this because Africa has an opportunity to play a part in the creation of the infrastructure. They should not just make money from taxing the industry, but make money because they are part of the formation of the industry. So, our vision is not just to put up the infrastructure because we can these vehicles out there but when people aren’t able to charge them it is pointless. We need to be able to build the infrastructure. The vision is to work with governments across the continent to build the infrastructure so that it is easy for people to adapt to it. It will take time before people embrace it until we have a proper infrastructure.

QN: Give us your parting shot about EVs in Kenya and Africa at large

ANS: We have entered Kenya and all I can tell Kenyans is to brace themselves for a new move, it’s called the green revolution. We are spearheading and we are going to create jobs and those who lost jobs will be trained because this is going to be a new industry. East Africa will never be the same again.



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