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US Urged to Strengthen African Ties for Access to Key Minerals

US Urged to Strengthen African Ties for Access to Key Minerals

The U.S. must boost commercial ties with African countries to curb reliance on China for supplies of critical minerals, a Washington-based think tank said on Tuesday.

“U.S. economic and national security depends on securing a reliable supply of critical minerals, including from Africa,” the Washington-based think tank said in a report.

According to the report, the U.S. is 100% dependent on “foreign entities of concern,” predominantly China, for crucial critical minerals. To mitigate the risks posed by China’s export restrictions, the U.S. needs to develop its domestic sources of these minerals.

Western mining companies are trailing behind their Chinese counterparts in the competition to access Africa’s vast mineral reserves, which are essential for industries ranging from electric vehicle manufacturing to defence.

To address China’s dominance in Africa, the report noted the need for the United States to engage in more robust commercial diplomacy aimed at forging partnerships for critical minerals in the continent.

One such strategy involves increasing commercial diplomacy efforts in countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, the world’s largest cobalt supplier, and Zambia, Africa’s second-largest copper producer.

As the race to secure minerals in Africa intensifies, cash-rich Middle Eastern firms are increasingly entering the competition.

While Western mining companies face challenges in investing in countries like Congo due to inadequate infrastructure such as roads and electricity, Chinese miners have solidified their presence in the region and are expanding their investments across Africa.

The International Development Finance Corporation announced in February its intention to increase project financing in Africa to reduce the perceived high risks associated with investing in countries like Congo.

The U.S. has intervened to support the Lobito Corridor, a rail link from the central African copper belt that’s key to the export of metals through Angola’s Lobito port.

Business Insider

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