TrendWatching is a purpose-driven trend firm, inspiring business professionals to launch sustainable innovations that benefit people and planet.
Select your country
The African continent has approximately 31 km of paved roads per 100 square km of land, compared to 134 km in other low-income regions. Dirt roads make for challenging transportation of everything from fruit and vegetables to building materials. In Rwanda, businesses often revert to carrying goods or loading them onto bicycles. Which works, but is also slow and laborious.
Creating an affordable and reliable alternative, OX Delivers operates electric trucks specifically made to tackle rough roads in emerging markets. As reported by CNN, the company launched in Rwanda with two trucks in April 2021 and now operates 12. More than just a vehicle, OX Delivers is a platform that connects cargo freights with available trucks. Customers use an app-like system created for the 2G phones that most Rwandans use, allowing them to book space on an OX truck. Delivery costs are similar to what cargo bikes and motorcycles charge.
The trucks were designed to be extremely durable yet easy to repair. Manufacturing costs are low, and the vehicles can be shipped flat-pack, allowing six trucks to be packed into one 40-ft container. In addition to environmental benefits, electric motors keep maintenance costs down.
OX Delivers quotes Clayton Christensen to describe the massive potential of bringing zero-emission vehicles to emerging markets. From the mind behind the theory of disruptive innovation: "Consider the electric car market today. Many companies – from Tesla to Ford – are developing products that compete with existing cars... They are selling these products into the consumption economy, where the competition is steep and the market is saturated. But what if they targeted nonconsumption? What if they focused... on the majority of people in our world, for whom transportation and mobility are a daily struggle? It may not be easy, but the opportunity... for an affordable product is vast."
Join 100,000+ future-focused professionals in 180 countries already receiving our free trend updates.