Agreements planned with Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. Promoting local value creation as a counterweight to China’s infrastructure investments.
The EU plans to conclude raw material partnerships with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. This was reported by Bloomberg news agency (paywall), citing people familiar with the matter. The new agreements are intended to reduce Europe’s dependence on raw material imports from China and support the local processing of minerals. Until now, much of the processing of critical raw materials such as lithium and cobalt has taken place in China. The promotion of local value chains in Africa is also intended to counterbalance the People’s Republic’s massive infrastructure investments in Africa.
The agreements are scheduled to be signed at the first Global Gateway Forum, which will be held Oct. 25-26 in Brussels, according to Bloomberg. Global Gateway is intended as the EU’s response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative intercontinental infrastructure and trade project, envisaging investments of up to 300 billion euros by 2027.
Enormous Deposits of Copper and Cobalt
As we reported, the EU and the U.S. announced they would support the development of a trans-African link between Angola, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo on the sidelines of the last G20 meeting. The rail project will also allow for the transport of raw materials across the Atlantic, according to Bloomberg. The so-called Copperbelt between Zambia and the Democratic Republic is one of the most important copper mining areas in the world, and other raw materials such as cobalt are also found there. The Democratic Republic of Congo has the world’s largest reserves of the battery metal, but production there is mostly controlled by China.
Read more: On the African continent, the EU has already signed a preliminary agreement with Namibia on the export of rare earths.