Special Economic Zones (SEZ) are to be established in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the production of electric vehicles (EVs).
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have signed a project framework agreement with the two countries.
The African nations are endowed with key minerals used in the manufacture of batteries for EVs.
The DRC accounts for approximately 70% of global cobalt supply and 88% of cobalt exports.
The two countries collectively contribute 11% of all copper supply globally.
Mining is also a critical sector for both nations, contributing 70% of Zambia’s foreign exchange.
Cobalt accounts for 26% of the DRC’s exports.
“DRC and Zambia are well positioned to establish leadership in the strategically pivotal electric vehicle (EV) sector, being well-endowed with the resources necessary to produce battery minerals,” said the Bank.
Afreximbank and ECA will play a facilitating role as financial and technical partners.
“As well as international investors such as Afreximbank’s impact fund subsidiary, the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA),” the Bank said.
A growing pile of copper and cobalt worth ~ $1.5 billion is stranded in the DRC, caught up in a standoff over the future of one of the world’s biggest battery-metal mines! $FCX $RIO $BHP $GLEN.L $DCMC.V $DRCMF $ARU.V $AUIAF #copper #cobalt https://t.co/DUnY6r2Ifw— AlphaBronze (@Alpha_Bronze) February 28, 2023
Electric vehicles important for Zambia, DRC to benefit from the green mineral boom
This OpCo will develop SEZs dedicated to producing “battery precursors, batteries, and electric vehicles, in both the DRC and Zambia.”
“The project will deploy well-established and proven EV technology that will enable both countries to exploit their mineral resources at scale,” said the Bank.
Oluranti Doherty, Afreximbank’s Director of Export Development, said SEZs are “critical tools the continent can deploy to fast-track its industrial infrastructure development, promote Intra-African Trade…”
Antonio Pedro, ECA interim Executive Secretary, said the agreement was important to ensure “enabling” policies are put in place for the region to benefit from the “green mineral boom.”