Ghana E-Bike CEO is the Next WDI Speaker

Valerie Labi, Co-founder & CEO, wahu!

Time: 4 PM EDT

Date: April 3, 2024

Location: Blau Colloquium, 5th floor of the Blau Building at the Ross School of Business

wahu! is the first Ghanaian brand to produce electric vehicles domestically. The electric bike (e-bike) startup brings together local talent and experienced automotive engineers and designers from global automakers, including Audi and BMW.

In the talk, “How an E-Bike Startup is Looking to Change the Way Africa Moves,” Valerie Labi, co-founder and CEO of wahu! Mobility Ltd. will discuss how the business is unlocking new possibilities in low-emission mobility solutions, particularly in urban markets. By locally designing and manufacturing connected EVs for Africa and the wider world, wahu!’s value proposition includes ease of transport, a path to vehicle ownership and a gateway to sustainable employment through mobility services.

Labi is an entrepreneur who also served as Ghana country director for nonprofit iDE, International Development Enterprises, which focuses on market-based solutions in agriculture and water/sanitation. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Southampton and her Masters of Studies from the University of Cambridge in Sustainability Leadership.

This event is open to the public and sponsored by the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan (WDI) in partnership with the African Studies Center at U-M’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

Attendees are encouraged to register (see below or click here) and submit questions in advance. Light refreshments will be served.


Graphic concept for speaker Valerie Labi, fo-founder of e-bike startup wahu!
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WDI is collaborating with the Secretaría de Innovación y Desarrollo Económico (SIDE), Frente Norte and Instituto de Innovación y Competitividad (I2C) of the State of Chihuahua in Mexico to help cement their position as a leader in the transition to e-mobility. This project includes initiatives to help connect industry leaders with opportunities related to the EV value chain, document e-mobility innovations by local companies, and prepare the talent pipeline for EVs in Chihuahua via collaborations with key stakeholders based in Michigan and in select low and middle-income countries.

Energy + Mobility

Roadmap features opportunities and notable stakeholders to strengthen
state’s e-mobility position

Ann Arbor, MI – Today, the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan (WDI) released the “Roadmap to E-mobility for the State of Chihuahua” to support the Mexican State of Chihuahua’s transition to electric mobility (e-mobility).

 The roadmap, developed alongside Chihuahua’s Secretaría de Innovación y Desarrollo Económico (SIDE) and the Instituto de Innovación y Competitividad (I2C), delves into relevant opportunities across the EV value chain and the key elements of the emerging global e-mobility ecosystem. Additionally, the roadmap identifies the necessary stakeholders, and the most effective strategies to prepare for the e-mobility transition, highlighting its impact on Chihuahua and greater North America.

 “This roadmap draws on months of research and collaboration to provide insights on opportunities Chihuahua can pursue and the stakeholders they need to engage to successfully compete in the transition to e-mobility,” said Diana Páez, Senior Director and mobility lead at WDI. “Having clear direction leads to a better understanding on how to leverage resources. We believe that confident, well-informed decision making is going to be the difference maker between the winners and losers of the e-mobility revolution.”

 The identified e-mobility opportunities, including a focus on EV assembly, semiconductors and battery plants, were recommended based on Chihuahua’s current resources and ability to attract further investment from auto industry partners and support from local government. Each opportunity is accompanied with corresponding strategies to strengthen and leverage the workforce, policy framework and existing infrastructure to holistically invest in a successful implementation.

The auto industry is undergoing a rapid transformation, and our goal is to position Chihuahua as a key player in North America and beyond. The shift toward e-mobility presents an expansive range of opportunities, and WDI's roadmap provides a clear path to achieving our objectives

With nearly 184,000 people employed in the auto and transportation sector and dozens of tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers, Chihuahua plays a crucial role in the automotive supply chain and in North America. Key investments in the e-mobility transition in the state will increase the momentum behind Mexico’s expected developments in 2023, including a national e-mobility strategy scheduled to be finalized this year.

“The auto industry is undergoing a rapid transformation, and our goal is to position Chihuahua as a key player in North America and beyond. The shift toward e-mobility presents an expansive range of opportunities, and WDI’s roadmap provides a clear path to achieving our objectives,” said Fernando Alba, the Undersecretary for Mining, Energy, and Industry, for the State of Chihuahua. “We are eager to maintain our influence in the auto industry and bolster our position in the e-mobility sector in the coming years.”

Many of the recommendations in the roadmap stem from what was learned about Chihuahua’s preparedness to shift to e-mobility. To do this, WDI developed an “E-Mobility Readiness Assessment” tool to evaluate Chihuahua’s overall “readiness” to manage this transition, with a focus on production of light-duty EVs. The tool can also be used to evaluate the readiness of other markets around the globe and inform governments on the e-mobility opportunities available in their own countries.

About WDI

At the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan, unlocking the power of business to provide lasting economic and social prosperity in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is in our DNA. We gather the data, develop new models, test concepts and collaborate with partners to find real solutions that lead to new opportunities. This is what we mean by Solving for Business—our calling since the Institute was first founded as an independent nonprofit educational organization in 1992. We believe societies that empower individuals with the tools and skills to excel in business, in turn generate both economic growth and social freedom—or the agency necessary for people to thrive.

About SIDE

SIDE fosters and facilitates the economic development of Chihuahua, in coordination with economic actors, increasing the competitiveness of businesses through innovation, to generate wealth and employment, and enhance the quality of life for the people of Chihuahua.

About I2C

I2C is a government agency of the State of Chihuahua that seeks to strengthen and promote scientific, technological and innovation capacities, through strategic research, technological development, and innovation (R&D&i) projects and programs that provide solutions and improve productivity and competitiveness of the productive, social, public, and academic sectors of the State of Chihuahua.

Media Contact:

Jacob Czopek
Media Relations Specialist, Airfoil
P: (248) 304-1427


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