Dr. Mandla Lamba is an African Billionaire who is the richest person in South Africa and the second richest man in Africa with a net worth of $18. billion, this is after Aliko Dangote who is worth $19.1 billion.
He came to prominence through the rise of his GreenTech & AI business known as Agilitee.
Agilitee is the first Electric Vehicles Manufacturer and GreenTech Company in Africa and the first black owned in the world.
The businessman fielded questions from UG Standard reporter— looking ahead to the new year.
Read every single word of our interaction with Africa’s second richest man, Dr. Mandla Lamba.
QN: Apart from a few countries in Southern Africa, what plans does Agilitee have this year in terms of market expansion?
ANS: We are growing at a very fast pace. We started with our first one in Harare, then on the 1st of December 2022 we opened a second one in Capetown South Africa and that was followed by our third one in Fourways Mall on the 16th of December 2022. We are opening our first Agilitee XPress Dealership in Nairobi Kenya on the 21 February 2023 and in Lekki Nigeria on the 25th of February 2023.
QN: Most Highways in Africa (their Target market) don’t have EV charging station, and that has remained a huge setback for EV rollout. Do they have plans to engage governments on this, or do they consider PPP arrangements to support the rollout ?
ANS: Yes, we have been calling on governments to address this challenge. It will be close to impossible for Africa to adopt EV without proper infrastructure. That’s why we are currently assisting two governments with their EV Framework. As a pioneer of the industry, we realized this early on our journey, which is why our dealerships also serve as charging points.
QN In terms of prices, EVs are obscenely high. Are they engaging the government on this to reduce taxes?
ANS: EV are high for Africa, only when they are not developed by Africans. Otherwise, they are affordable if these are solutions developed by Africans who are passionate about Africa like Agilitee. We build affordable vehicles because we understand the challenges of our people, unlike foreign companies who sell their cars and make money then move the money back to their domicile countries. As Agilitee, we have solved the issue of affordability in such a way that we even have zero percent interest rate in our inhouse financing facility for those who want to buy our vehicles and cannot get approval from traditional financiers.
QN: What is the market like, is the public responding to Go Green agenda?
ANS: I think the timing was perfect when we entered the market. This has been proven when people couldn’t afford petrol and job losses because of COVID-19, and then people started being interested in EVs. However, there needs to be more investment made in educating the masses about the benefits of EVs. On the other hand, with our Solar Systems it became very easy because people are in the dark as power outages cover Africa. Though in small tranches, we have evidenced progress.
QN: In the previous years, Agilitee has launched exciting products such as Agilitee Go, Xpress dealership stores, etc.
What should we expect this year in terms of innovation?
ANS: First, we expect our shares to trade on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in the third quarter of 2023, and we also expect to complete our $2 billion capital raising at the end of June 2023. However, I am more excited about dropping our 65-seater full electric bus and our panel van this year. We will also be finally launching our 200 Artificial Intelligence products this year, I declare by the grace of the Living God that is a great year already