African countries urged to break dependence on raw minerals export-Xinhua

African countries urged to break dependence on raw minerals export

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-06-05 22:26:16

ADDIS ABABA, June 5 (Xinhua) -- UN officials have called for breaking the excessive dependence of African countries on the export of their raw mineral resources.

The call was made Tuesday in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 60th anniversary pre-event themed "Maximizing Africa's potential: Leveraging demand for critical minerals to boost inclusive growth and sustainable development."

Speaking at the event, Antonio Pedro, deputy executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), urged African countries to export processed minerals to maximize their benefits including economic diversification and job creation.

"Mineral-producing African countries need to focus on value-chain development, industrialization, inclusion of local and indigenous communities and environmental protection as they tap and export their mineral resources," Pedro said.

He believed that the rich mineral resources would greatly help African countries realize their ambitions of resource-based economic transformation and implement flagship regional battery and electric vehicles value chain initiatives.

"Africa collectively needs a six-fold increase in lithium and graphite, three-fold increase in cobalt, doubling nickel and other minerals production to accelerate its transformation by 2035," Pedro said.

According to him, Africa has one-third of global mineral reserves and produces more than 70 percent of the world's cobalt, 55 percent of manganese, nearly 25 percent of bauxite and 15 percent of copper, and a host of others.

Rebeca Grynspan, secretary general of UNCTAD, said in a video speech that the rich mineral resources in Africa such as cobalt, manganese, bauxite and lithium can be building blocks of a new era of powering every house in Africa, connecting the continent to the world and catalyzing a green revolution that can lift millions out of poverty.

"We need fair and transparent mining contracts in Africa to help citizens in the continent benefit from their natural wealth. The agreements must be environmentally safe and allow economic diversification," said Greenspan, emphasizing the importance of exporting processed minerals to drive sustainable development in the continent.

She said through strategic partnerships and innovative solutions, UNCTAD stands ready to support efforts to harness the full potential of Africa's abundant resources and shape a future where the continent stands tall on the global stage as a beacon of opportunity and hope.

"Africa must reject the traditional extracting model that has kept resource-rich African nations dependent and poor," Greenspan added.