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African Countries Need Robust Strategies for the Critical Minerals Sector

According to the 2023 Critical Minerals Market Review by the International Energy Agency, demand for lithium, for example, tripled from 2017 to 2022. Similarly, the critical minerals market doubled in five years, reaching US$320 billion in 2022. The demand for these metals is projected to increase sharply, more than doubling by 2030 and quadrupling by 2050. Annual revenues are projected to reach US$400 billion. In a recent study, researchers analysed African countries that produce minerals that the rest of the world has deemed “critical” and focused on lithium projects in Namibia, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Ghana. They recommend that the African Union should expedite the development of an African critical minerals strategy that will guide member countries in negotiating mining contracts and agreements. The strategy should draw from leading mining practices around the world. Otherwise, African countries that are rich in critical minerals will not benefit from the current boom in demand.