Kinshasa, November 25, 2021 (CEA) – Members of the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and leaders of the private sector agreed that for an efficient ecosystem for the battery, electric vehicles (BEV) and the value chain renewable energies in the country, Special economic zones (SEZs) must be independent.
During the DRC Africa Business Forum round table on an ecosystem for the BEV value chain, the ministers of industry, trade, mines, communications and media (respectively Julien Paluku, Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayia, Jean Lucien Bussa and Patrick Muyaya) and private sector representatives said the independence of the SEZ will increase confidence in the initiative and create the right balance of incentives for investors from other countries.
Ministers and the business community agreed that the battery production initiative represents a major shift in discourse – both bringing positivity to DRC coverage and placing the DRC in the driving seat of value chains. in which she is involved. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) they said it will be an important tool in all the development of the BEV.
Antonio Pedro, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), who moderated the roundtable discussions, said BEV production depends on an integrated production model and therefore SEZs have emerged as one of the answers to provide an elusive investment framework for BEV.
“To create a functional battery factory in DRC, the government must create the appropriate regulatory and legal framework to attract foreign direct investment and apply the same for local investors,” said Pedro, adding that to ensure cohesion institutional is also important for industrial policy. .
He noted that to develop an efficient ecosystem for BEV and renewable energy, the ecosystem must start on the supply side which will ensure constant exploration of mines for the production of battery minerals like nickel and cobalt.
David McLachlan-Karr – UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in DRC observed that Congo has diverse and rich natural resources and has the capacity to change the distribution of benefits from green mineral value chains.
“Investors believe in this project and are involved. The work will be very complex, requiring a targeted approach. improve life in the DRC, ”said McLachlan-Karr.
DRC ministers’ point of view on BEV
Patrick Muyaya, DRC Minister of Communication and Media, said: “There are obvious reasons to invest in DRC, and considerable return potential and lower costs compared to other countries. The next generation is involved in leadership and seeks change. the story of the country. ”
Julien Paluku Kahongya, Minister of Industry of the DRC noted that politics rather than the economy dominated the discussion on added value. There is a clear commitment from the Head of State, and therefore industrial policy is not just for industry, but for the whole economy and society.
DRC Minister of Mines Antoinette N’Samba said the DRC was undertaking plans to better develop its minerals, not only cobalt but lithium and others. The DRC wants to re-certify its minerals, to understand the full extent of the deposits.
“A memorandum of understanding is underway for adding value to diamonds with the Netherlands. An investigation will be carried out to find out whether companies requesting exemptions have fulfilled their obligations,” the minister said.
Jean-Lucien Bussa, DRC Minister of Commerce said it was a real paradigm shift and a new day for his country. To stimulate trade, you have to produce more, which requires more investment, which requires more opportunities. So need to improve the business environment. It can also have ripple effects, including reducing the need to import cars in the future.
“AfCFTA operation can double revenue to $ 4 billion. Fiscal policy is important to boost industrialization and should be used not only for revenue but also to boost socio-economic development. institutional tools to build investor confidence, such as export promotion, ”he said. noted.
The private sector
The president of the national business association said the main challenges to ensure sustainability – access to finance other than external finance with other priorities; the involvement of local businesses from the start; train young people to get involved. It is also necessary to invest in other related sectors. In addition, there should be better returns for mineral producers, and investors should build with the DRC, not for it.
Serge Ngandu, General Manager AVZ regretted that they favor industrialization based on cobalt over other minerals, due to its huge relative value, cost and technical challenges of other minerals like lithium. Investing in infrastructure is vital for this sector.
“My company will have both mining and processing activities within the SEZ. Need to increase the technical skills of workers for these advanced activities.
Anthony Nkinzo, National Investment Promotion Authority, DRC, described investment plans and programs, and the role of the mining code in facilitating this. This includes the creation of a special economic zone, an industrial zone and an export zone. The implementation of this program, he said, presents a clear opportunity.
Jean Dominic, CEO of the cobalt branch of Gécamines, it is necessary to understand the volume of cobalt produced by artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) -15-20% – and the role that this would play in the project industrialization. Thus have developed standards for cobalt which have been well received by companies. The ecosystem between miners and miners’ organizations, businesses, government is vital.
The panelists recommended that it is vital for the country to exploit its comparative advantage to break into these new high value-added activities which are growing globally at an exponential rate; the recent Bloomberg report clearly highlighted both the immense potential for investing in value-added cobalt and battery production in the DRC, and the lower costs of this operation compared to other countries; financial incentives, trust in government, participation of local businesses and the qualification of young workers will be essential to ensure that this opportunity is achievable; it is necessary to act quickly, because alternatives to batteries are being found; there is another proposal to insert carbon credit markets in SEZs, in order to harness the funds available to market the continent’s resources.
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UNECA – United Nations Economic Commission for Africa published this content on 25 November 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on November 26, 2021 06:29:08 AM UTC.