COP28: 9 countries join the African Battery Value Chain Project

06 12 2023 | 23:36Boris Ngounou / AFRIK21

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia alone hold almost 80% of the world's cobalt reserves. These large reserves position Africa at the forefront of the growing market for electric batteries, for which cobalt is the basic raw material. To capitalise on these resources, several African countries have officially expressed their interest in joining the innovative Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) Consortium, launched on Saturday 2 December 2023 in Dubai at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).

Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria and Togo have officially expressed their interest in joining the Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) Consortium. This was on 3 December 2023, the fourth day of the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The BESS Consortium is an initiative of the Global Leadership Council, a high-level coalition of world leaders brought together by the Global Energy Alliance (GEAPP) to serve people and the planet. It includes leaders from multilateral development banks, development finance institutions, international agencies, non-governmental organisations, business leaders and government representatives.

The member countries of the BESS consortium pledge to participate in efforts to achieve energy storage commitments of 5 gigawatts (GW) by the end of 2024. This, in turn, will provide a roadmap for the eventual storage of 400 GW of renewable energy by 2030.

These member countries have also been joined by the African Development Bank (AfDB). The pan-African financial institution will act as a resource partner. “The AfDB is proud to be at the forefront of this transformative journey, leveraging strategic partnerships and financial commitments to drive progress. We remain committed to a cleaner, greener and more prosperous Africa, powered by the limitless potential of renewable energy and the resilience of the African spirit. Together, we can light up and power Africa for generations to come,” said AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina.

The BESS Consortium comes at a time when Africa is resolutely focused on setting up a sustainable value chain for the production of electric batteries. On 27 March 2023 in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Congolese Minister for Industry and his Zambian counterpart for Trade and Industry signed a memorandum of understanding to launch a pre-feasibility study for a battery and electric vehicle value chain project.

With nearly 80% of the world’s cobalt reserves, an essential raw material in the production of electric batteries, the two East African countries have acted in accordance with the resolutions of the DRC Business Africa Forum held in Kinshasa in November 2021, which decided to create a value chain for batteries and electric vehicles in the DRC. The project is supported and accompanied by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and will be financed mainly by the import-export bank Afreximbank and probably to some extent by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Arab Development Bank.