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U.S. Bid to Challenge China’s Dominance of the Battery Metal Supply Chain in Africa Faces Two Key Hurdles

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

Widely perceived as a major and concrete U.S. move to counter China in the supply chain of critical minerals in Africa, the U.S.-DR Congo-Zambia MoU signed last December in Washington, D.C., will confront significant challenges, mainly for the DRC and Zambia. 

Both countries are among the main world’s largest producers of copper and cobalt – the DRC alone produces 67-70% of the world’s cobalt – both of which are key ingredients needed to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles.

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