4 min read.Updated: 25 Jan 2023, 11:38 PM ISTAnjani Trivedi( with inputs from Bloomberg )
In its rush to secure electric vehicle (EV) and battery-supply chains, the US government is splashing billions in commitments
In its rush to secure electric vehicle (EV) and battery-supply chains, the US government is splashing billions in commitments. But the desperation is leading it astray. Last week, the State Department released an MoU it signed in December to support a deal between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia to build a “productive supply chain, from mine to assembly line." The agreement is meant to drive investment and ensure the private sector has a “level playing field" in projects. The US is turning to Africa for raw materials. Almost 70% of the world’s cobalt, key to certain types of batteries, is mined in the DRC, which has nearly half the world’s reserves. Zambia is one of the largest producers of copper, used for other components. The US also imports copper from the DRC, its third-largest producer. But the US conveniently failed to mention that cobalt from the Congo has been at the centre of child labour abuses, as the State Department’s country report states. The press release announcing the MoU left it at “corruption", saying it was “committing to respect international standards to prevent, detect, and take legal action to fight corruption throughout this process."