LUSAKA, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Friday sealed a bilateral agreement on manufacturing electric vehicle batteries.
Under the agreement, the two sides will jointly explore minerals that are critical raw materials for battery-manufacturing and give full play to their rich cobalt and lithium resources.
Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema and his DRC counterpart, Felix Tshisekedi, attended the signing ceremony at the Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka, the Zambian capital.
According to a communique released after the ceremony, Zambia and the DRC, holding together approximately 70 percent of the world's cobalt reserves, have agreed to implement the initiative in the "shortest possible time."
The two countries will not only establish a joint governing council and a technical committee to monitor the implementation process, but also develop industrial zones as support, it said.
Calling the signing of the agreement as key to poverty alleviation in the two countries, Hichilema said the initiative has sent a message that Africa was tired of being a source of raw materials and wanted to start exporting finished products.
Meanwhile, Tshisekedi pointed out that the agreement will create value chains for producing electric vehicle batteries and help transform the economies of both countries.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Export-Import Bank have made commitments to support the initiative in resource mobilization and its successful implementation. ■