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It’s time to change the paradox of sitting by the river and remaining thirsty

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It’s time to change the paradox of sitting by the river and remaining thirsty

The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Africa as a whole must play an important role in this global supply chain by taking advantage of its abundant natural resources.

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, December 2, 2021 / APO Group / –

The recently concluded Africa Business Forum of the Democratic Republic of the Congo promises the development of a robust battery industry and an enormous contribution to the electrification of transportation systems, allowing Africa to add more value to its mineral endowment.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo supplies about 70 percent of the world’s cobalt used in battery production, an essential component for powering electric vehicles; however, the country captures only 3 of the global electric and battery value chain. The scenario that politicians and experts say must change.

According to Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the rhetoric of saying that the Democratic Republic of the Congo can electrify the entire continent and that the country has 70 percent of the world’s cobalt reserve and that the Democratic Republic of the Congo can feed everyone in Africa. it must be translated into action. “In 15 years, the world will produce around 50 million electric vehicles. The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Africa as a whole must play an important role in this global supply chain by taking advantage of their abundant natural resources, ”he said.

According to the new study titled: “The Cost of Producing Battery Precursors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” by BloombergNEF, electric vehicles represent a market opportunity of $ 7 trillion between now and 2030 and $ 46 trillion between now and 2050.

Alain Foca, a journalist for Radio France International, said that the transformation of minerals such as cobalt, copper, lithium, manganese, nickel and graphite at a battery plant in Africa “would change the paradox of sitting by the river but the people of the continent remain thirsty.

The demand for electric vehicles and investment in battery storage systems will require skill development and the need for an education that not only improves employability, but also gives young people the tools they need to be successful in entrepreneurial endeavors. Experts emphasize that the Democratic Republic of the Congo would need to invest in skills development to grow a skilled workforce capable of implementing this industrialization project.

“During the first five years, the Democratic Republic of the Congo may need to rely on international experience,” said a stamen during the panel “Skills for battery development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo”, organized by that Rawbank as part of the Forum Africa from the Democratic Republic of the Congo 2021.

Mr Jean-Marc Kilolo, ECA’s Head of Economic Affairs, said that some companies are now looking for skills and knowledge, not just the diplomas obtained. He highlighted that training and internship opportunities for students and graduates, as well as placement opportunities with leading companies to acquire the necessary practice, are crucial. Mr. Mustapha Rawji, Managing Director of Rawbank in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said that the bank will invest in this area in collaboration with higher education institutions.

According to CEPA, Africa has around 55,000 women and men in engineering, but the African Union Agenda 2063 aims to reach around 4.3 million people in the field. The biggest challenge in implementing Africa’s Agenda 2063 remains the insufficiency of critical technical skills, as Africa has to produce at least 300,000 engineers per year until 2063.

Jean Marie Kanda, Dean of the Polytechnic Faculty of the University of Lubumbashi says that generating the necessary skills will play a central role for the Democratic Republic of the Congo to succeed in the production of lithium-ion battery cathode precursor materials.

The theme of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Business Forum was “fostering the development of a value chain and market for the battery, electric vehicle and renewable energy industry in Africa”. At the opening, the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, referred to the author Frantz Fanon when he said: “Africa is shaped like a weapon and the Congo is the trigger.”

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