Strengthening Africa’s Role in the Battery and Electric Vehicle Value Chain
As the world reboots its economies from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to adopt an economic development model that lessens environmental, climate and disaster risks and one where social and economic benefits are inclusive. At the core of the recovery and in line with commitments under the Paris Agreement, is the clean energy transition to drive economies. This involves uptake of technologies that reduce emissions such as wind and solar energy and less of fossil fuel-based technologies. Whilst clean energy and decarbonizing international investment and finance seem to be dominating the development discourse, what is less talked about is the minerals, including rare earth minerals, metals and construction materials needed for this to happen.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) data on global mineral reserves, Africa hosts: Cobalt (52.4%), Bauxite for aluminium production (24.7%); Graphite (21.2%), Manganese (46%) and Vanadium (16%). This is just the tip of the iceberg because current exploration activities in Africa are delineating huge strategic mineral deposits. Specifically for cobalt, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is well positioned to take a leadership position in the energy transition industry as well as derive significant economic benefits because it accounts for 70% of the world’s cobalt production and over 51% of global reserves. These minerals are needed for the energy transition as they serve as critical feedstock for battery and Electric Vehicle manufacturing.