The Biden administration is aiming to support the growth of large-scale electric vehicle battery factories in Africa with massive investments as part of their commitment to tackle climate change.
In an “America’s Plan for Global Battery Supply Chain Resilience” report issued in May 2021, the US Department of Energy identified sub-Saharan Africa as an area of particular opportunity for innovation and investment in EV battery production, storage, and recycling.
The report proposes a “Battery Partnerships Program for Africa” that will use US-provided grants and investments to support the growth of battery production, transportation, recycling, and other related industries in Africa. The initiative seeks to capitalize on existing trade relationships and “anchor” EV battery production to the continent, thus creating jobs and boosting local economies.
The US-backed program also calls for the increased training of technicians and engineers to work in electric vehicle-related industries, enhanced standards and policies on manufacturing, and the encouragement of domestic battery manufacture and export. The initiative hopes to make good on President Biden’s pledge to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, as well as address the needs of developing countries, many of which are heavily dependent on imported gasoline and diesel fuels.
One of the primary goals of the program is to increase the diversification of the global battery supply chain, which is currently dominated by a few countries, including the US, China, and Japan. The Administration hopes to create an EV battery industry that is more resilient and less dependent on any one region.
Ultimately, the US government hopes that by investing in EV batteries and electrification in Africa, as well as elsewhere, they can simultaneously address two of the world’s greatest challenges: climate change and economic development.