from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR investments will culminate in the establishment of Africa’s first electric vehicle battery grade cobalt sulphate plant.
More funds have been secured to steer the expansion of mobile money in the minerals-rich lucrative Lobito Corridor.
Seen as the United States’ ploy to counter China’s influence in Africa, the corridor traverses 1 300 km east through Angola to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and within strategic reach of the Zambian border and Tanzania.
Zambia and the US have convened the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI) Lobito Corridor Private Sector Investor Forum in the former’s capital Lusaka, attended by over 250 business and government leaders from Angola, DRC, European Union (EU), United States (US), Zambia and international investors.
This is the first Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI) Investor Forum outside the US.
At the forum, it was disclosed the Africa Finance Corporation had signed an expression of interest with Kobaloni Energy to provide US$100 million in financing for a cobalt refinery in Chingola, Zambia, with the objective of building the first electric vehicle battery grade cobalt sulphate plant on the African continent.
“This investment will generate jobs and opportunities that our fellow citizens must exploit,” President Haikande Hichilema of Zambia said.
Further, two United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grants are enabling Africell’s recent mobile money launch to reach more underserved populations and expand a programme supporting women farmers to communities around the Lobito Atlantic rail line.
“The corridor is a vital logistics hub that connects the region to international markets while demonstrating that strategic public infrastructure investment can mobilize private investment across multiple sectors to promote economic growth that transforms the region,” said a spokesperson of the US Department of State.
The Lobito Corridor is the first strategic PGI economic corridor launched by US President Joe Biden at the Group of Seven (G7) Summit in Japan in 2023.
The corridor is anticipated to integrate the African continent and enhance connections with global markets.
– CAJ News