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Building facilities for lithium-ion batteries in Africa will cost 3 times less – Adesina

The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said that building the precursor facilities for lithium-ion batteries in Africa will cost three times less than in other parts of the world.

Dr Adesina stated this during the African Union (AU) Industrialization Summit held in Niamey, Niger Republic on Thursday, December 1.

Potentials of lithium: He added that Africa has the potential to become a major player in the electric vehicle (EV) market. That’s because Lithium-ion batteries are essential for making electric vehicles.

  • “The future of electric cars in the world depends on Africa, given its vast deposits of rare mineral resources, including lithium-ion, cobalt, nickel and copper. The size of the electric vehicle market has been estimated at $7 trillion by 2030 and $46 trillion by 2050.”
  • Adesina further spoke on the urgent need for rapid industrialisation across Africa, noting that “Africa has an abundance of natural resources, oil, gas, minerals and metals, as well as a vast blue economy that needs to be rapidly industrialized.”

Need for investments: Echoing Dr Adesina’s comments, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda spoke about the need for investments in energy and infrastructure. He said:

  • “The pace of industrialization in Africa is still too slow to achieve Africa’s development goals under Agenda 2063. We need to invest more of our national budgets in industrial policy, and significantly increase energy and infrastructure capacity.”

For the record: In its October 2022 World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that copper, silicon, lithium and other rare earth minerals are critical for the future of global power systems. According to outlook, lithium‐ion batteries are the fastest-growing storage technology in the world, making lithium indispensable for future electricity systems.

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The IEA outlook also highlighted the fact that rising mineral prices and volatile supply chains which could be affected by geopolitical events should be seen as warning signs to policymakers to pay closer attention to the importance of these minerals for a secure and sustainable energy transition.

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