The two-wheeled handcrafted vehicle commonly referred to as the “chukudu” (also known as the “chikudu,” “cbokoudou,” or “tshukudu”) is used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s east. It is made of wood and is mostly utilized for cargo transportation.
Other features of the Handmade wooden vehicle include an angular frame, two small wheels (often of wood, sometimes wrapped with rubber), handlebars, and a pad for the operator to place their knee on while propelling the vehicle with their leg.
When a rider wants to head for a descent, he or she stands on the deck like a kick scooter. And while on flat ground, the rider can put one knee on the deck and push the ground with the other foot still like a knee scooter. Rubber mud flaps and shock absorber springs may be added to give the vehicle more feel.
Pedro Sarracayo invented the Chukudu in 1972. Saracayo, a Portuguese national, resided in North Angola’s town of Uige, near the Congolese border (Zaire River) between 1966 and 1975. He developed the Chukudu after realizing the need for local, on-foot transportation of big cargo.
In North Kivu, this technology originally appeared in the 1970s, amid Mobutu Sese Seko’s tough economic times. At that period there existed a price range of $100 in 2008, with a material cost of about $60.
In a region where most people lived on less than $2 per day, they cost $50 to $100 and might earn up to $10 per day in 2014. According to a 2014 report, a driver might pay off the projected $150 cost in around six months while making $10–20 each day.
And in Goma, where chukudus act as the backbone of the local transportation system”, they are mainly made out of hard Mumba wood and eucalyptus wood, with scrap tires for wheel treads.
They can take up to three days to build and can also last two to three years. The most commonly used size is about six and a half feet long and carries a load of 1000 lbs. However, “the largest chukudus can carry up to 800 kilograms of weight.”
Perhaps a small chukudu can be built roughly in about three hours, using dimensional lumber and materials available in a hardware store. It is customizable to carry different types of cargo. To haul firewood some chukudus have a hole drilled in the middle of the sitting deck, and the operator can insert a stick to hold firewood in place. Others have a large basket to carry various loads.
In light of the Republic’s recent entry into the region, a breath of relief will be felt by East Africans, especially those making less than the minimum wage, if they adopt this technology.
This comes at a time when, as recently as last month, fuel prices in the region reached their highest levels. For example, Uganda’s government recently announced that it has no solutions for price reductions at the pump even as prices spiral out of reach for drivers due to global dynamics in eastern Europe.
Again there are also concerns that the current Kenyan General Election crisis could worsen the situation. Industry insiders, however, continue to be wary, stating that while a decline in crude oil prices is positive, motorists in East Africa would continue to pay high rates at the pump until this month is over, should prices decline further.
Brent Crude briefly traded below $100 a barrel on July 5, for the first time in three months before rising above $100, while the US benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell to 98.53 on July 6.
Electric Mobility As A Move To Transform East Africa’s Road Transport System.
The good news is that East Africa is currently working aggressively to address the problem of oil shortage with initiatives like electric vehicles. For instance, in the global transition to electric mobility, Uganda and Rwanda are outpacing their East African neighbours. For the past two months, electric vehicle assembly plants have opened in Kampala and Kigali, setting the regional pace while Kenya and Tanzania are still taking baby steps toward adopting the new technology.
By creating two battery-powered cars and a solar-powered bus, Uganda’s state-owned Kiira Motors Corporation has so far demonstrated the greatest ambition in the area. The electric bus, known as the Kayoola Electric Vehicle Series (EVS), was created in collaboration with Chinese Equipment Manufacturer, Motor Co. Ltd. using Kiira Motors’ in-house green mobility technologies.
Compared to diesel-powered buses, which have a capacity of 90 passengers (49 seated and 41 standing), the buses have a range of 300 kilometres on a single charge. Volkswagen began producing electric vehicles in Rwanda in October of this year, and Siemens, a German manufacturer of power equipment, plans to install 15 charging stations in Kigali.
This comes after a local Rwandan company called Ampersand began selling electric bikes that are powered by batteries with a range of roughly 75 kilometres. However, compared to other regions of the world, East Africa continues to adopt electrical cars at an exceedingly low rate, according to the 2019 Global EV Outlook report.
According to the International Energy Agency assessment, the lack of financial incentives, such as subsidies and rebates on car acquisition taxes, lower toll or parking rates, and a lack of investment in charging infrastructure is to blame.
Most of Kenya’s locally generated electricity comes from renewable energy
Kenya is a forerunner in the use of renewable energy; in 2020, hydro, thermal, and wind power generated 92.3% of the country’s electricity, which is three times more than renewable energy sources worldwide.
The nation is also a pioneer in the field of electric vehicles. Of Kenya’s 2.2 million cars, just about 350 are electric, but the nation wants to boost this number. 2019 saw a decrease in Kenya’s import taxes on all-electric vehicles. The following year, it unveiled a plan to boost EV use while lowering spending on importing fuel and maintaining the environment. The policy calls for charging stations to be installed in new housing developments and public buildings.
Kenya Electricity, the nation’s power company, intends to construct charging stations throughout the nation while advocating for additional reductions in import duties for electric vehicles.
Transportation of Africa during The Pre-Colonial Times.
In many areas of precolonial Africa, there were highly established transportation systems. During the subsequent colonial era, these systems were reorganized to penetrate the interior from the seaports and, primarily, to serve the commercial and administrative interests of the colonial powers.
The juxtaposition of various and challenging terrains, the economic artificiality of some national frontiers, the lack of a developed intra-African trade, and the strong orientation of commodity trade with the administering countries were the causes of their fragmentation, which resulted in interregional links being but thinly developed. The fact that there were huge unpopulated areas positioned between the major cities further compounded everything.
Improvements in economic planning, the growth of transportation networks, and the introduction of lower freight rates were heralded by the emergence of independent African governments in the 1960s that understood the need to raise economies from their typically very low levels and, above all, to develop agriculture and start industrialization.
However, there was still a severe lack of skilled African labour to build and operate national or international transportation systems while also keeping up with the rapid advancement of transportation technologies outside of Africa.