Yohane Mbeeya Moono
Former Congolese Prime Minister and Freedom Fighter Patrice Lumumba once retorted that “Political Independence has no meaning if it is not accompanied by Economic and Social Development.” This statement resonates with the plight of many African communities that have yearned to see the full scale benefits of Political Sovereignty.
The concern of the general populace seems to be receiving the much needed attention from the People manning the Corridors of Power. In November, 2021, the Democratic Republic of Congo hosted the DRC-AFRICA Business Forum. Among the noted personalities to attend the conference was Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema.
During the DRC-AFRICA Business Forum on 24 November, 2021, President Hichilema noted that the global revenue estimates for Electric Vehicles Battery Chan extraction stood at US $ 11 Billion Dollars, and it was likely to grow by 35% to US $ 387 Billion Dollars at Battery Production and likely to further grow by 600% to a whooping US $7 Trillion Dollars for Electric Vehicle Production. With the economic value mentioned in the Battery Electric Vehicle Value Chain, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo did actualize this vision by signing the Agreement on Battery Electric Vehicle Value Chain in Lusaka on April, 29, 2021.
It must be noted that both Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo house about 70% of the World’s Cobalt. The two Nations are also Africa’s leading producers of Copper. The main objective of the Battery Electric Vehicle Value Chain Agreement is to help change the fortunes of the two countries by adding Value to their endowments in Battery minerals, that is Cobalt and Copper, to profit from the global transition towards Green and Clean Energy, electrification of the transport systems and rapid decarbonization of the World at large.
The two countries are positioning themselves as the World moves towards Green and Clean Energy by reducing the usage of fossil fuels which are causing alot of unwanted emissions in the atmosphere. Cobalt and Copper have been identified among other minerals that are going to provide Clean source of Energy through the Electrification of Transport Systems. Adding Value to the minerals endowed in the two countries would help to significantly improve the economies of the two countries.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has a Gross Domestic Product value of 50 Billion Dollars as of December 2021 and expected to grow to 51 Billion Dollars in 2022 as per economic projections. While Zambia’s Gross Domestic Product value stood 24 Billion Dollars in 2021 and expected to grow to 27 Billion Dollars in 2022 as per economic projections. The coming of the Battery Electric Vehicle Value Chain Agreement is expected to see an increase in economic activities of the two countries and that would significantly impact on the Gross Domestic Product value of both countries.
The Zambian Government announced plans of tripling the Copper production output to 3 million tonnes annually. This can only be made possible through such positive agreements that are aimed at profiting the people of the two countries. The Democratic Republic of Congo already produces over a million tonnes of Copper annually.
Additionally, the two countries are expected to see an increased activity in trade. With the Kasumbalesa Border Post on the Copperbelt being a hive of activity. The two Presidents of the two countries committed to ensuring that Trade between the countries goes on smoothly. The World Food Programme reports that the Democratic Republic of Congo imports food to tune of $1 Billion Dollars annually with Tanzania and Zambia being the major beneficiaries on the African continent. Though it has often been reported that most of the trade activities between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo is done illegally through Smuggling a term the current Zambian President is seeking to avoid. The Battery Electric Vehicle Value Chain Agreement would play into economic positivity for both countries as it will open doors for more trade in other economic areas.
The Battery Electric Vehicle Value Chain Agreement is surely a game changer and one that should help to positively improve the economies of the two countries.