Transport by road is the primary form of mobility for the majority of people in Zimbabwe, as well as for the distribution of goods around this land-locked country. Transport by rail, air, and boat (on dams and rivers) makes up a small percentage overall. The sector is completely dominated by fossil fuels, predominantly oil (94.5% in 2019) and biofuels (4.6%); there was no electricity in the mix in 2019. Transport emissions increased by 16% during the period 2000-2017.5 Even so, the small scale of the sector means it produces only 8% of the country’s GHG emissions.
In conjunction with EVs, hydrogen is only mentioned once, in Zimbabwe’s 2019 LTS, and it appears with the provision of “feasible over the long-term with sufficient technical and financial support”. The LTS also models EV roll-out, but notes that the linked electricity demand projections have not been incorporated into the planning of the national power system.1 The more recent BUR and revised NDC make no mention of hydrogen.
In all the scenarios, the sector is close to fully decarbonised (less than 5 gCO₂/MJ) between 2034 and 2037. Decarbonisation of the sector will be mostly driven by electrification and increased share of biofuels in the fuel mix, reaching 7-27% by 2030 and 50-82% by 2030 respectively.
1 Ministry of Environment Climate Tourism and Hospitality Industry. Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy (2020-2050). (2019).
2 Republic of Zimbabwe. Revised Nationally Determined Contribution. (2021).
3 Zimbabwe Power Company. Hwange Power Station – Zimbabwe Power Company.
4 Ministry of Environment Water and Climate. Zimbabwe’s Third National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (2016).
5 Ministry of Environment Climate Tourism and Hospitality Industry. Zimbabwe’s First Biennial Update Report to the UNFCCC. (2020).
6 Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) 2021-2025. (2019).
7 UNDP. Bright days ahead as the National Energy Policy is unveiled in Zimbabwe. (2012).
8 Murwira, S. “No electricity for cooking”: Droughts in Zimbabwe cut the lights in poor households – climatetracker. Climate Tracker (2021).
9 Ministry of Energy and Power Development. National Renewable Energy Policy. (Ministry of Energy and Power Development, 2019).
10 South Africa’s Eskom supplies Zimbabwe with 400 megawatts of power | Africanews.
11 Ministry of Energy and Power Development. National Renewable Energy Policy. vol. 1 (2019).
12 WorldBank. Access to electricity (% of population) – Zimbabwe | Data. (2021).
13 IEA. Zimbabwe Country Profile. IEA – Countries & Regions. (2022).
14 See assumptions for the NDC quantification here: https://1p5ndc-pathways.climateanalytics.org/methodology/#zwe-ndc
15 Global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C tend to include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches, and often rely on rather conservative assumptions in the development of renewable energy technologies. This tends to result in greater reliance on technological CDR than if a faster transition to renewables were achieved. The scenarios available at the time of this analysis focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology, and our downscaling methods do not yet take national BECCS potentials into account.
Zimbabweʼs energy mix in the transport sector
petajoule per year
- Natural gas
- Oil and e-fuels
Zimbabweʼs transport sector direct CO₂ emissions (of energy demand)
- Historical emissions
- High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
- SSP1 Low CDR reliance
- SSP1 High CDR reliance
- Low energy demand
1.5°C compatible transport sector benchmarks
Direct CO₂ emissions and shares of electricity, biofuels and hydrogen in the transport final energy demand from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for Zimbabwe
Decarbonised transport sector by
Direct CO₂ emissions
2034 to 2037
Share of electricity
7 to 27
15 to 38
26 to 42
Share of biofuels
50 to 82
60 to 82
74 to 76
Share of hydrogen
1 to 29
38 to 58
56 to 57