As the global automobile industry makes a transition towards the development and deployment of electric cars into the market, the future of electric cars is said, depends on Africa.
Speaking last week at the 17th Extra-Ordinary Assembly of the African Union on Industrialisation, in Niamey, Niger, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, in a speech read on his behalf said; “The future of electric cars in the world depends on Africa, given its extensive resource deposits in rare minerals, especially lithium-ion, cobalt, nickel, and copper.
The size of the electric vehicles market has been estimated to reach $7 trillion by 2030 and $46 trillion by 2050. Building precursor facilities for lithium-ion batteries in Africa will be three times cheaper than in other parts of the world,” he said.
The African Development Bank and its partners — which includes the Africa Finance Corporation, African Export Import Bank, Africa50, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Trade and Development Bank, European Investment Bank, and the Islamic Development Bank — are working to develop lithium-ion manufacturing value chains in Africa, he said.
Dr Adesina described the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as the best pathway to Africa’s prosperity but indicated that it would only be fully realised if its potential is unlocked.
Re-echoing the fact that the AfCFTA is Africa’s best route to economic success, he pointed out that the continent must however, go beyond just trade.
“To unlock its potential, however, we must not just trade. We must turn the zone into an industrial manufacturing zone. Free Trade Zones that launch prosperity around the world have done so not by trading low value commodities, but by industrial manufacturing,” he said, adding, “without any doubt, Africa’s wealth must no longer depend on exports of raw materials but of finished value-added products. The door to poverty is from export of raw materials, the highway to wealth is industrialization,” he noted.
According to Dr Adesina, the sector with the greatest potential for industrialization in Africa is agriculture.
“Africa has 65 per cent of the uncultivated arable land left to feed the world, therefore how Africa develops its agriculture will determine the future of food in the world. Across Africa, we must turn cocoa beans into chocolates, cotton into textile and garments, coffee beans into brewed coffee. That is why the African Development Bank is investing $25 billion in agriculture across the continent, to transform the agricultural sector,” he said.
He also noted that the AfDB is investing over $1 billion in the development of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones in 18 countries, to help unlock Africa’s potential in food and agriculture.
“This is part of our efforts to unlock the food and agriculture market estimated to reach $1 trillion by 2030,” he said.
He announced that under the chairmanship of President Macky Sall, the AfDB and the African Union Commission are organizing a Presidential Feed Africa Summit from January 25-27, 2023 in Dakar to develop action plans to fully transform Africa’s agriculture to feed itself and to contribute to feeding the world.
He said Africa has an abundance of natural resources, oil, gas, minerals, and metals, as well as
extensive blue economy that must be rapidly industrialized.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda in his remarks, noted that the pace of industrialisation in Africa remains too slow to achieve the continent’s objectives and Agenda 2063, and he called on the continent’s leaders to invest resources in energy.
“To create impact, we must move forward in unison with a sense of urgency. Times have changed and the economy is more important than ever. We are reminded of working together. No one can work alone,” he said, adding, “We have a choice to make. The future is in our hands. Let’s go ahead and make the right choice.”
By Emmanuel K Dogbevi, back from Niamey, Niger
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