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Why the DRC and Zambia are Becoming Increasingly Important Markets for Africa’s Banks 

Africa’s biggest lender, Standard Bank, has expressed ambitions to increase investment in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia as it seeks to position itself as an early leader in two markets rich in natural resources critical to the world’s green transition. Kenny Fihla, the CEO of Standard Bank’s corporate and investment banking division, said earlier this week that “because of the energy transition, we need to think differently about our businesses in the DRC and Zambia… we are likely to see that, in the next five years or so, the DRC will be one of the most important countries within the Standard Bank group.” The DRC and Zambia have emerged as crucial African markets because of the abundance of natural resources available in both countries that are essential to the production of green technologies. The DRC is home to almost half of the world’s cobalt, for example, which is a critical mineral for electric vehicle batteries. Both the DRC and Zambia are also in the top five largest exporters of copper in the world. It is likely there will be higher demand for the commodity in the years to come as it is central to the production of renewable energy systems.