African leaders urged to safeguard continent’s vast untapped ‘green’ minerals

African leaders urged to safeguard continent’s vast untapped ‘green’ minerals

Africa, the world’s richest region for renewable energy, must tap into its vast untapped resources to drive sustainable development and industrialization — this was the main message coming from fruitful discussions on the Africa Green Minerals Strategy (AGMS) during the recent Africa Climate Summit 2023 in Kenya.

At over 5500 exajoules per year, Africa boasts 44.8% of the world’s total technical potential for renewable energy, making it the world’s richest region for renewable energy potential. With the urgent need to industrialize and enhance economy-wide productivity, reliable energy is paramount, especially for priorities like food and water security. To meet these demands, the speakers at the Africa Climate Summit 2023 called on African leaders to prioritize the goal of diversification of the continent’s energy sources, with a growing focus on renewable energy alongside fossil fuels, particularly natural gas. The Africa Climate Summit 2023 served as a platform for fruitful discussions on the AGMS and its potential to reshape the continent’s economic landscape.

Speaking during the Africa Climate Week 2023 that was organized in parallel with the Africa Climate Summit, African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC) Director, Marit Kitaw, noted that the continent needs to learn from the past and benefit from its own minerals before they are exported. Kitaw and other experts have drafted policies and regulations for the AGMS, which were launched recently.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) in its latest report found that there is a new scramble for African minerals, with US and Chinese companies showing interest especially in lithium.  While calling for Africa to support the global decarbonization agenda, Kitaw said the continent also needs to put itself first to solve its “energy poverty” before exporting minerals as countries around the world transition from fossil fuels to greener energy. To that end, she noted that the AGMS plan is designed to foster socio-economic development to tackle the disparities on the continent, despite its abundance of greener mineral resources.

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