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U.S., Zambia & DRC Ink EV Deal

FILE - Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi flanked by his delegation at the second-U.S.-Africa Leaders' Summit in Washington, D.C on Tuesday December 13, 2022.

The United States has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia to help them develop an electric vehicle value chain, meaning providing components used in their assembly.

‘’The plan to develop an electric battery supply chain opens the door for U.S and like-minded investment to keep more value-added [levels] in Africa,’’ U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Tuesday at the U.S. - Africa Leaders Summit in Washington.

‘’This is the future, and it is happening in the DRC and in Zambia,’’ Blinken said.

The secretary said the partnership will not only benefit Africa, but the world as global leaders and environmental activists look to tackle the impact of the climate crisis.

‘’We’re together in combating the climate crisis, together in developing new renewable sources of energy, together also in building out economies for the future. This is a part of it,’’ he said.

‘’So this is I think an important moment to take note of a truly important initiative for the future not only of the DRC and Zambia, not only for Africa, but potentially for the world,’’ Blinken added.

Present at the signing ceremony was DRC’s President Tshisekedi, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, and the U.S Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth Jose Fernandez.

Analysts say electric vehicles will help reduce carbon emissions thus supporting efforts by international leaders and stakeholders to respond to the climate crisis.

DRC provides 70 percent of the world’s cobalt, while Zambia is the world’s six-largest producer of copper, and Africa’s second-largest cobalt producer.

DRC’s Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula said the signing of the MOU demonstrates ‘’an important moment in the partnership between the U.S. and Africa - more specifically between the U.S., Zambia, and the DRC.’’

‘’The DRC is working based on the will of our president, President Tshisekedi," Lutundula said, " to be involved in all initiatives in the region that involve the United States so that we can contribute with our natural resources and strategic minerals to the collective management of the world’s fate and future in this day and age with climate change, where we need to have a lot of imagination and creativity to help us manage the energy transition together.’’

Zambian Foreign Minister Stanley Kakubo noted that the deal signals ‘’a reflection of the deep friend’’ between the partners, describing it as a ‘’strategic’’ one for ‘’us as a country.’’

‘’It fits into a program of us industrializing our countries, and also providing jobs, and also creating value chains for what we want to do in our country, ‘’ he said adding that ‘’We want to get the transactions done and the setting up of the plants quickly, and the value chains must be clear for our mutual benefit.’’