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Champions Corner: Jaafar Benabbou explains how solar electric vehicles can empower people across Africa


Jaafar Mounir Benabbou, Morocco’s MI Champion



Jaafar Mounir Benabbou is General Manager and co-founder of Solar e-Cycles Morocco. Born in Paris, he earned a bachelor’s degree in science and mathematics at Hassan 2 High School in Safi, Morocco, and attended preparatory classes for engineering at Lycée Marceau, Chartes, France. He graduated from ESCA EM business school with a master’s degree in marketing and corporate finance. At the start of his career, he held several advisory financial positions with major real estate and investment banking organizations CBRE and OREMA Capital. Since then, he has elected to be an entrepreneur to positively impact society and the environment for future generations.

Tell us more about your company/organisation

The Solar E-Cycles approach is an affordable, clean, and smart mobility and power solution across Morocco and other francophone African countries. We focus on renewable solar energy and light electric vehicles (EVs) that are designed for last-mile delivery, small-scale farming uses and other applications, and provide access to electricity in urban and rural environments.

Investing in smart and affordable technologies as envisaged in Mission Innovation, our work enables urban and rural citizens to live higher quality and more climate positive lives. Global warming requires urgent and massive investment in affordable technologies as well as changes in lifestyles to reduce carbon emissions, whilst providing new jobs and business opportunities for the people and companies involved. These problems are compounded in Africa where the population is expected to grow by 3 billion people this century and where access to electricity and transport systems are currently not available to half the population.

Solar e-Cycles Morocco focuses on scaling SME businesses, and growing affordable, solar-powered and electric mobility through our partnerships with universities, innovation centres and the government, in order to empower people in a new green ecosystem to accelerate the energy transition. Investing in smart and affordable technologies as envisaged by Mission Innovation will empower urban and rural citizens at the bottom of the pyramid.

How do you intend to leverage being an MI Champion?

As Moroccan ambassador of the European Commission in promoting clean energy and being Moroccan MI Champion, I participate in numerous task forces with the Ministry of Equipment and Transport and other important organisations related to transport regulation. I am working to adapt the regulatory framework for light EVs concerning standards, approval and conformity rules, to secure, regulate and organise the Moroccan EV market, and keep people’s trust in green mobility solutions. Simultaneously we are promoting the use of alternative green mobility solutions and innovative technologies to access electricity. This opportunity has given me the ability to represent members and the association of EV importers and distributors in Morocco with different ministerial departments.

Do you have any upcoming plans or announcements that you would like to share with the MI community?

We see important future changes and opportunities through the renewable energy revolution, with all its potential to change the world and the way we live. We are particularly interested in generating carbon credits from light EV fleets through reporting on key performance indicators via on-board systems and the internet of things, accelerating positive environmental impacts.