In its rush to secure and build America’s electric vehicle and battery-supply chains, the U.S. government is reaching far and wide, splashing out billions in commitments. But the desperation is leading it astray.
Last week, the State Department quietly released a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed in December to support a commitment between the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the DRC, and Zambia to build a "productive supply chain, from mine to assembly line.” The agreement, in theory, is meant to drive investment and ensure the private sector has a "level playing field” in projects.
It’s turning to Africa for obvious reasons: An abundance of raw materials. Almost 70% of the world’s cobalt — a key ingredient in certain types of batteries — is mined in the DRC, where nearly half of the world’s reserves are located. Zambia is one of the largest producers of copper, used for other important components. The U.S. also imports copper from the DRC, the third-largest producer of the metal.