U.S.-DRC Workshop Supports Development of Value Chain for Electric Vehicle Batteries

KINSHASA – From September 25-26, the United States and DRC governments, in partnership with SAFE’s Center for Critical Minerals Strategy, held a workshop in Kinshasa to support the DRC’s efforts to develop a value chain in the electric vehicle (EV) battery sector and connect the DRC Battery Council with U.S. and private sector expertise.  The workshop promoted the objective of ensuring critical minerals are produced, processed, and recycled in the DRC so that the Congolese people can realize the full economic development potential of their mineral resources.

The event brought together representatives from the private sector, civil society, and academia, as well as U.S. and DRC government officials, including Minister of Finance Nicholas Kazadi, who reflected on opportunities for the DRC to move from being a raw materials producer to an industrial power.  Participants identified challenges and obstacles to developing the EV battery sector and shared best practices to establish sustainable value chains for natural resource mining, refining, manufacturing, and exports.

An electric battery supply chain in the DRC and Zambia will create opportunities for open and transparent investment and for a larger portion of the sector’s added value to be retained in Africa.  In his remarks at the closing of the workshop, the U.S. Embassy’s Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Mich Coker noted the need for a just energy transition that prioritizes engaging local communities and ensuring the highest environmental standards and good governance, and he highlighted the U.S. commitment to working with the DRC to advance its anti-corruption goals.

The workshop, jointly funded by the DRC Battery Council and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources,follows the U.S.-DRC-Zambia Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) announced at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in December 2022.  Global demand for cobalt is projected to increase dramatically in the coming decades to meet demand for EV batteries.  The DRC produces 70% of the world’s cobalt and is Africa’s leading producer of copper, both of which are crucial for the clean energy transition to help reduce carbon emissions and support the global response to the climate crisis.