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Mining Indaba reveals Africa’s Plan to cash in on battery, electric mineral market

The African Development Bank affirmed its commitment to supporting African countries to harness their mineral resources at the recent Mining Indaba held in Cape Town.

The African Development Bank and the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) took the opportunity to compare notes with governments, investors, partners, and other collaborators involved in the African mining industry at the Indaba. The Bank delegation convened a side-event to discuss ways to finance the development of Africa’s green minerals and effective African participation in the global battery and electric vehicle value chain.

“Africa needs to promote policies that enable the creation of more value on the continent through resource-based industrialization, build productive capacities and develop intra-African exports and trade by leveraging on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” said Dr. Vanessa Ushie, Acting Director of the African Development Bank’s African Natural Resources Centre.

The discussions were premised on Africa’s significant green mineral resources, which provide a unique opportunity for the continent to contribute to the energy transition, and attracted a large audience from various African countries, industry, development finance institutions, commercial banks, and mining professionals.

Green minerals strategy

Dr. Ushie called for the development of a green minerals strategy anchored in the Africa Mining Vision to guide African countries to optimize benefits from the battery and electricity vehicle chain. She noted that the African Development Bank was already collaborating on the strategy with various key partners: the ALSF, the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the UN Development Program, Africa Finance Corporation, and Afreximbank. These institutions are known as the Green Minerals Partners.

Several government ministers attended the African Development Bank’s side-event. The message from all of them was consistent. The Zambian Minister of Mines and Minerals Development, Paul Chanda Kabuswe, emphasized the need to progress from the usual rhetoric that proclaims Africa’s significant mineral potential to taking strategic actions to harness these resources to promote Africa’s development. This was supported by the Minister of Industry of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Julien Paluku. He cited the recent agreement of cooperation signed between the governments of Zambia and the DRC to develop their combined green mineral resources for the battery and electricity vehicle industry as a unique example of strategic action by African countries.

The cooperation agreement between Zambia and DRC is an important outcome of the DRC-Africa Business Forum, which was organized by the Bank and its Green Minerals Partners in collaboration with the Government of the DRC in November 2021.

Dr. Kwasi Ampofo, Head of Metals at Bloomberg NEF, highlighted the potential market value in the battery and electric vehicle value chain. “Electric vehicles represent $46 trillion between today and 2050,” he said. African countries could therefore play a major role in the lithium-ion battery supply chain by taking advantage of their abundant mineral resources and localising more of the value chain.

The Bank delegation included the Director General of the Southern African Region of the African Development Bank, Leila Mokaddem, and the CEO of the ALSF, Olivier Pognon, who moderated a number of sessions of the intergovernmental summit featuring ministers responsible for mines from Botswana, Ghana, Angola, Kenya, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania. The ministers highlighted the current developments in their countries and the discussions focussed on regional cooperation among countries to enhance the benefits of mineral development, especially for the energy transition.

This year’s Mining Indaba saw over 6,000 participants returning to attend the annual event in Cape Town, South Africa. The theme of the 2022 Mining Indaba was Evolution of African Mining: Investing in the Energy Transition, ESG, and the Economies.

The Mining Indaba is Africa’s largest mining event solely dedicated to the successful capitalization and development of mining interests in Africa. This event unites investors, mining companies, governments, development partners, CSOs, academia and other stakeholders worldwide.

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