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U.S. Signs MoU with DRC, Zambia for e-Vehicle Supply Chains

US Secretary Antony Blinken (C), Democratic Republic of the Congo Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula (L) and Zambian Foreign Minister Stanley Kakubo sign a memorandum of understanding on the sidelines of the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, on December 13, 2022. EVELYN HOCKSTEIN / POOL / AFP

The governments of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States to develop an electric vehicle supply chain in their countries. The exact details of the agreement are still unclear, but it likely involves refining cobalt – a key mineral used in e-vehicle batteries. 

The DRC and Zambia are the world’s two largest cobalt producers, and concern has been rising in the U.S. that 80% of the world’s cobalt refining happens in China. The two countries have long called for support to boost refining capacity. China has supported such initiatives in Zimbabwe and Indonesia but has so far avoided similar pressure from Kinshasa and Lusaka. This agreement could change that.

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