African Nations Explore Potential of Battery and EV Industry Expansion

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ADDIS ABABA, April 17: The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has called on African countries to harness the opportunities presented in recent developments in the global battery and electric vehicle (EV) industry.

An electric bus is seen in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, on Oct. 19, 2022. (Photo by Charles Onyango/Xinhua)

The UNECA made the call as it held a technical review meeting on the implementation of a cross-border special economic zone for the battery and EV industry, which will be established in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia, with the support of the UNECA and the African Export-Import Bank, according to a statement issued late Monday.

Eunice Kamwendo, director of the UNECA Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa, emphasized the benefits of the battery and EV initiative in the two countries for its contribution to socio-economic development and structural transformation.

She said the initiative will add value to the minerals crucial to manufacturing EVs, attract domestic and foreign direct investment in the sector, create sustainable jobs, and contribute to overall economic transformation.

The planned joint special economic zone will promote manufacturing agglomeration in the two countries and across the continent, while also bridging the technological gap in the sector, Kamwendo said.

“This initiative presents an immense opportunity for transforming regional economies and the entire continent through mineral-based development,” she said.

The UNECA said the surge in demand for rechargeable batteries, driven by smartphone use and the need to store renewable energy, represents a huge opportunity for the African continent to drive development based on a clean energy transition.

According to the UNECA, the joint battery and EV initiative on the establishment of a value chain in the electric battery and clean energy sector is supported at the highest political level in the two countries involved. The DRC and Zambia signed a framework agreement for the establishment of the special economic zone in March 2023. (Xinhua)

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