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Reading: Sierra Leone’s 20-year-old James Samba built the first-ever locally made electric vehicle from Sierra Leone
Reading: Sierra Leone’s 20-year-old James Samba built the first-ever locally made electric vehicle from Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone’s 20-year-old James Samba built the first-ever locally made electric vehicle from Sierra Leone

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Sallu Kamuskay
By Sallu Kamuskay 757 Views 5 Min Read
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Sierra Leone's 20-year-old James Samba built the first-ever locally made electric vehicle from Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone's 20-year-old James Samba built the first-ever locally made electric vehicle from Sierra Leone

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Sierra Leone’s 20-year-old  self-taught engineer, innovator, and student of the Limkokwing University James Samba has built Sierra Leone’s first-ever electric vehicle equipped with self-recharging capability made with 75% local materials in Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leonean entrepreneur James Samba has built the first-ever electric shuttle minibus with spaces for persons with disability (that can accommodate them while in their wheelchairs). During an interview with Salone Messenger, a public relation firm, James Samba stated “The Buss I have built operate without fuel or oil, can self-recharge itself, it also carry up to 10 passengers”

Salone Messenger reported that James Samba has worked on several projects including FM radio transmitter, auto-intensity street light, a non-fuel generator, remote control wheelchair, automated handwashing station, a sanitizer dispenser, solar backpack, and has solved many problems in the communities ranging from light security, electricity, climate change, coronavirus prevention, to name but a few.

James Samba has gone a step further to build the first ever electric shuttle minibus with spaces for persons with disability (that can accommodate them while in their wheelchairs from scratch in a push to promote clean energy, curb pollution, address and create a better option to the high prices of gasoline (relatively reflecting on high transportation costs/fares), the neglect of the physically challenged (in wheelchairs) in the public transportation sector

Africa’s top producer and exporter of crude oil have heavily-subsidized gasoline and a patchy supply of electricity — a combination that might discourage anyone from investing in electric vehicles.

But James Samba, a 20-year-old student, self-taught Engineer and chief Innovation Officer, and founder of Wanjama Innovative-s. and resident of Pujehun Town, in the southern provinces of Sierra Leone in Sierra Leone is undaunted. He says rising global oil prices and pollution make electric vehicles a worthwhile alternative in Sierra Leone.

At a friend’s workshop, he has already stripped combustion engines from 10 mini-buses, powering them with solar batteries. The buses, which have been operating for just over a month, cover a distance of 100 km on a single charge, he said.

Like many innovators, James accounted for numerous challenges trying to solve problems, speaking to Salone Messenger, he said

‘’The issue of funding has been the key challenge I’ve been facing lately. Getting materials to work with on a particular project is hard and many are to be purchased locally and sometimes ordered. 90% of all my innovative solutions are self-funded; I have to squeeze from my school allowance and sometimes even beg from friends and other relatives to assist me with some cash to buy the materials needed. ‘’Despite these challenges, James is hoping that his innovative ideas will make difference in the lives of people, he sees himself solving modern-day problems through his technology. This to James is his greatest achievement ‘’ My greatest achievement in the line of my work, innovation, has been, creating solutions to problems affecting people (or more precisely, me being a problem-solver). With extreme gratitude to the UNDP Accelerator Lab, I have been able to learn more on my pace of becoming a real-time problem-solver through their funded training program on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Limkokwing University. He noted.

His most ambitious project is building the buses from scratch.

In Sierra Leone, like most of Africa, electric vehicles have not yet gained traction because they are more expensive and there is little electricity and no infrastructure to charge vehicles.

Due to the  electricity challenge, James Samba noted that the buss operates without fuel or oil, can self-recharge itself, can carry up to 10 persengers, to name but a few.

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Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean communication strategist, fixer, blogger, youth organiser, event manager, spokesperson, and public relations expert. His work has been regularly referenced and published by national and international media and public policy institutions. Sallu Kamuskay was a child during the brutal war in Sierra Leone. Growing up in the midst of conflict, Sallu witnessed unimaginable abuse of children and gross violations of human rights. The horrors he witnessed during the Civil War had a terrible impact on him at a very tender age. But despite the shock of the war, Sallu never lost hope. He started on a journey of recovery, studying, and working for a better future. At age 15, Sallu entered into the world of activism and advocacy. Sallu Kamuskay was the Vice President of the Young Leaders Organisation, a member of the National Youth Council. The Young Leaders is one of the oldest youth-led organisations in West Africa. The organisation was formed by a group of young leaders, and launched by the then Head of State/President of Sierra Leone. Sallu was part of the group of young leaders who participated in and contributed to the establishment of the National Youth Council. The Commonwealth supported the training for trainers programme with line ministries and youth stakeholders in which key, representatives of youth council, student union and civil society/private sector youth platforms were engaged and empowered in the effective engagement and inclusion of youth. Sallu is co-founder and Executive Director of the Salone Messenger, a global multimedia and public relations firm based In Sierra Leone. Sallu has worked on various developmental and policy issues such as Poverty, Climate Change, Human rights, Child Rights, Education, Health, Gender Equality, Civic Engagement, Government policies, Information Communication Technology for Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, and has also been contributing to various global events and advocacy campaigns. Sallu Kamuskay is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Salone Messenger, a global Multimedia and Public Relations Firm based in Sierra Leone with the latest news and information, on top stories, business, politics, entertainment, and more. Sallu is working with a leading technology company in Africa, Techfrica, that has recently developed and launched a social media, messaging Supfrica with over 150,000 downloads on the Google play store in less than 4 days. He is the Adviser and Media coordinator for the App to give people the platform to connect and communicate to help shape their future with a very fast internet that allows users that live in deprived and hard-to-reach areas with poor internet facility to be able to communicate as it allows and stronger on 2 and 3 G network reception. Sallu has over 9 years of experience in youth engagement, inclusion, and coordination both at local and global levels, giving voice to young people and engaging young people to build a better world. He has served as coordinator for the Wave Alliance which brought together youth-led organisations who attended an international training in South Africa organized by the International Organization – Waves for Change. Sallu is working with the MLT, Waves For Change, and the Government to develop safe spaces for young people, with a view to contributing to the overall development goals of young people including health, as well as to community rebuilding. Sallu is currently the Programme Director for the Wave Alliance, which is a coalition of youth-led and community-based organisations that have successfully introduced evidence-based Surf Therapy programs to young people in communities, with a focus on mental health, peace building and sustainable development. Sallu is currently the focal point and face of Africa’s Faces Social media platform which is a global Social media platform that brings together people from across the world to share their moments, connect, share videos, and interact with friends giving more preference to excluded continents like Africa. Sallu Kamuskay has devoted his time to working for or contributing to a number of national and international organizations and companies, including the Techfrica Technology Company, United Nations, ECOWAS, European Union, Commonwealth Africa Initiatives. This work has led him to travel to a number of countries to contribute to global youth platforms. Sallu is the lead Coordinator for Peace Tour programme, an initiative supported by the European Union, Africa Union, ECOWAS focusing on uniting and empowering young people and local communities. Over the years, Sallu Kamuskay has been using his Techno phone to be able to tell stories, the phone he used to tell the story of Gbessay during Ebola who was admitted at one of the Ebola treatment centers after rumors that she had Ebola when the actual sickness was ulcer, she was almost abandoned at the treatment canter with no medication provided to her. She could have died. Sallu told the story via social media and was able to secure funding from the United Sierra Leone to buy her medication and advocated for her. She was later discharged and taken home, He did the same to a patient that died and was abandoned in the street, Sallu Kamuskay used his phone and shared the message across, the corps was later taken and buried. It could have been more disaster without his voice. The story of late America Stress 3-year-old daughter. The hero’s daughter was abandon after his father's death. He shared her sad story and was able to get a sister who has taken the child as her own and is currently providing her with educational support. The article of America Stress can be read on the link below Sallu Kamuskay feels the stories of Gbessay, America stress and that of many others need to be told. The media house we have cannot better tell these stories, they are better reporters than telling human interest stories. He created the Salone Messenger platform and brought together passionate storytellers to be able to tell these compelling stories.
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