Demand for critical minerals—bauxite, cobalt, copper, lithium, nickel, and other minerals that underpin solar, wind, geothermal, and other forms of renewable energy and electric vehicles—is already booming and is projected to continue to grow at a rapid pace.
Africa’s mineral-rich developing economies could benefit greatly from this increase in demand. Many African economies have vast critical mineral reserves, and their nascent industrial sectors imply vast export potential.
These countries could increase the benefits they reap from these minerals by building downstream capacity in processing—the steps that turn mined ore (bauxite, iron ore) into refined intermediate goods (aluminum, steel).
To do so, however, they need to improve their infrastructure, investment climate, and governance and learn to navigate an increasingly complicated geopolitical environment.
Credit: Mark-Anthony Johnson