Why the future of electric vehicles depends on Africa

Ben Ebuka January 09, 2023
Photo Credit: BP63Vincent

As the world is racing to curb lethargic emissions and save the world from further damage, many countries are now looking for cleaner sources of energy to end the use of harmful energy sources that are detrimental to the world.

This has led to intensified research efforts in creating innovative products, one of which is the Electric Vehicle, which is a paradigm shift from the traditional vehicles that run on harmful fossil fuels. Many multinational automobile companies have set out guidelines to transition from manufacturing diesel and petrol-powered cars to battery-powered vehicles.

The surge in demand for personal electrified mobility is even beyond the expectation of the ardent proponents of electrified mobile vehicles. It is expected that in the coming years, millions of battery-powered will dominate the car industry and increase the demand and production of more batteries.

Electric vehicles use lithium batteries which are one of the most popular rechargeable batteries. Unlike other batteries, lithium batteries hold higher energy and have a longer discharge rate, which allows them to have a longer power supply. The shift towards lithium battery-powered vehicles has increased the demand for lithium-ion, nickel, cobalt, and other components used in manufacturing lithium batteries.

This revolution in the energy sector offers a greater chance for Africa, which has about 30 percent of the world’s mineral resources. Africa has an abundance of lithium, an essential component in electric vehicles.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank Group, said, “Africa has an abundance of natural resources that must be rapidly industrialized. The future of electric cars in the world depends on Africa, given its extensive resource deposits in rare minerals, especially lithium-ion, cobalt, nickel, and copper. The size of the electric vehicles market has been estimated to reach $7 trillion by 2030 and $46 trillion by 2050.”

“Building precursor facilities for lithium-ion batteries in Africa will be three tines cheaper than in other parts of the world.”

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina stated this at the recently held African Development Bank Group Extra-ordinary Summit of the African Union on Industrialization, Economic Diversification, and the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Interestingly, the African Development Bank, in partnership with the Africa Finance Corporation, African Export-Import Bank, Africa50, the Development of Southern Africa, the Trade and Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the Islamic Development Bank, is working to develop lithium-ion manufacturing value chains in Africa.

Below are the major African countries with lithium reserves, having a combined 4.38 million tonnes of lithium reserves according to U.S. Geological Survey Data.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is still at the exploration stage of the lithium supply chain. The Manono-Kitolo mine contains one of the largest lithium reserves. DRC has 3,000,000 tonnes of lithium deposits.


Goulamina and Bougouni are the two most advanced lithium mining projects in Mali. Mali has 700,000 tonnes of lithium deposits.


Africa’s actively working mine with the largest lithium-rich field is in Bikita, in the Masvingo Province of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has 500,000 tonnes of lithium deposits.


The Ewoyaa lithium project is the major lithium mining in Ghana, developed by Atlantic Lithium. Ghana Zimbabwe has 130,000 tonnes of lithium deposits.


Namibia is the second country after Zimbabwe to export lithium mineral concentrate in recent times, and Namibia has 50,000 tonnes of lithium deposit. Karibib is the most advanced lithium mining project in Nambia. 

Last Edited by:Sandra Appiah Updated: January 6, 2023


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