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DRC, Zambia join forces with Afreximbank and UN Economic Commission for Africa to produce Electric Vehicles & Batteries

The Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia have partnered to establish special economic zones for the production of electric vehicles and batteries.

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will spearhead the deal.

According to the ECA, these zones will be the first of their kind in the 16-member region, which includes Namibia and South Africa.

DRC Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde chaired the landmark event which took place in Kinshasa, chaired, featuring senior representatives from the African Union (AU), the African Development Bank, Afreximbank, the legal support facility, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, and the ECA.

ECA acting secretary Antonio Pedro stated, “This is an important step in ensuring we have the right enabling policies in place for the region to benefit from the so-called green mineral boom.”

Strategic positioning

Zambia and the DRC are strategically positioned to transition from being exporters of raw materials to becoming global manufacturers and suppliers of battery precursors.

Furthermore, the two countries are among the largest producers of over 70 percent of the world’s cobalt and 10 percent of global copper, respectively.

Both countries possess reserves of lithium, a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries.

However, until now, they have mainly been suppliers of unprocessed critical minerals to foreign manufacturers.

Pedro emphasized the significance of the agreement in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which aims to achieve sustainable industrialization and economic diversification. Afreximbank will lead the establishment of an operating company in collaboration with public and private investors from the DRC and Zambia, as well as international investors such as Afreximbank’s Fund for Export Development in Africa investment platform.

The operating company will develop a transboundary special economic zone in the DRC and Zambia dedicated to the production of battery precursors, batteries, and eventually electric vehicles.

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