UNDP sets the trend for low-carbon transportation

May 22, 2023

Prime Minister, HE Cleopas Dlamini, boards the environmentally-friendly electric vehicle while Minister of Tourism, Hon. Moses Vilakati, and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Rose Ssebatindira, look on.

UNDP/Mantoe Phakathi


UNDP Eswatini has acquired its first electric vehicle to live up to the United Nations Agency’s global commitment to reducing its carbon footprint by 50% by 2030. The Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle is a ‘leading environmentally-friendly affordable family car’ with zero emissions and has been changing the face of clean energy transport across the globe. Prime Minister HE Cleopas Dlamini unveiled the vehicle on May 22 at the Eswatini Inaugural Green Indaba at the Happy Valley Hotel, Ezulwini. 


UNDP Resident Representative, Ms Rose Ssebatindira, said the office procured the vehicle as part of its global Energy Moon Shoot Initiative. It will be powered by a solar-charged station and used for the office’s daily operations to reduce its emissions and raise awareness about the need to transition to clean energy transport. 


She noted that electric vehicles are taking the global market by storm, with sales expected to increase by 35% this year after a record-breaking 2022, when more than 10 million electric cars were sold.   


“This explosive growth has resulted in a rise in the share of electric cars in the overall car market from about 4% in 2020 to 14% in 2022 and is set to increase further to 18% this year, according to the latest IEA projections,” said Ssebatindira, adding: “I have no doubt that with Government’s demonstrated climate action commitments this far, a decarbonised transport sector in the Kingdom is achievable.”


The Prime Minister, who had an opportunity to test drive the car, appreciated UNDP’s efforts in supporting Eswatini to address climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.


“I am the first Prime Minister to drive an electric car,” he said to a rousing round of applause as he officially opened the two-day conference. He emphasised the need for the country to also improve its efforts in raising awareness about climate change to help all sectors of society to understand its impact and action that should be taken. 


He noted that the country launched the implementation plan of its climate action plan, known as the Nationally-determined Contributions (NDCs). Both the NDCs and implementation plan were developed through UNDP support. The plan covers different sectors of the economy, such as energy, infrastructure and agriculture, and has been mainstreamed into the National Development Plan. 


“Its implementation will require improvements in the legal framework, and, as such, a Climate Change Bill is currently under formulation,” said Dlamini. 


He said, Eswatini, as an emerging economy, has a lot of potentials across all industries and sectors to raise the much-needed finance by issuing green/social/sustainability/gender bonds, which global investors currently have a huge appetite to invest in. The green bonds principles aim to support debt issuers in financing environmentally sound and sustainable projects that foster a net-zero emissions economy and protect the environment.


He further applauded the Eswatini Stock Exchange for spearheading the country, we recognise the need to build climate resilience and delink our development from carbon emissions.


Dlamini said the Green Indaba is a timely initiative because it discusses strategies for raising financial instruments to help Eswatini fund the green economy, particularly diversification of financial instruments that could cater for green financing across all sectors of society. 


“Why the Eswatini Stock Exchange? It is because we are exploring other financial mechanisms beyond the traditional financial institutions. The demand for resources is great, hence the need for diversification,” he said. 


Adding his voice was the Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Hon. Moses Vilakati, who acknowledged the partnership between the government and the private sector. 


“Having developed a Private Sector Engagement Strategy, we are currently working on a private sector engagement plan. We have also started engaging the business community through Business Eswatini. There is indeed value in the government working with the business community,” said Vilakati. 


SNG Grant Thornton sponsored the two-day conference in partnership with Eswatini Stock Exchange, Central Bank Eswatini and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority. UNDP provided technical support through a team of experts who shared experiences and best practices from other countries on incentivising and leveraging private sector investment in low-carbon technologies.