Energy Capital & Power

Energy Capital & Power

Multilateral development finance institution the African Development Bank announced a $7 million trade finance guarantee facility to Access Bank DR Congo to support Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and local businesses in February 2024. The financing aims to address the funding shortages that impede the growth of SMEs and their full participation in key economic sectors, including agriculture and mining.

As part of efforts by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to strengthen SMEs and advance its critical minerals sector, Hon. Louis Kabamba Watum, Minister of Industry and the Development of SMEs has joined the Critical Minerals Africa (CMA) Summit as a speaker.

The Critical Minerals Africa 2024 summit on November 6 - 7 serves to position Africa as the primary investment destination for critical minerals. The event is held alongside the African Energy Week: Invest in African Energy 2024 conference ( November 4 - 8, offering delegates access to the full scope of energy, mining and finance leaders in Cape Town. Sponsors, exhibitors and delegates can learn more by contacting

The DRC is ushering in a new era of prosperity and innovation across diverse sectors, particularly mining, by prioritizing skills development among its youth and SMEs. The country has trained over 7,720 women and young entrepreneurs with next-generation entrepreneurship skills through the World Bank-led PADMPME program, since its inception in 2018. As the DRC intensifies efforts to harness and exploit its critical mineral resources for economic growth and job creation, the role and potential of SMEs are poised for substantial expansion. Minister Watum will address these themes at CMA, emphasizing the vital role of local entrepreneurship and economic diversification within the DRC’s mining sector.

Minister Watum will highlight the role of the DRC’s vast mineral wealth - including the world’s largest cobalt reserves and fourth largest copper deposits - in driving GDP growth and economic development, with a focus on local SMEs and community benefits. The DRC – through state-owned mining firm Gecamines – kickstarted operations at the 140,000 tons per annum Kipushi zinc-copper mine this July following 30 years of mine maintenance. The resumption of operations at the facility is set to boost the DRC’s copper output, enhance export revenue and create new opportunities for SMEs across sectors such as transportation. Additionally, Gecamines has independently begun marketing and selling its copper shares from the Tenke Fungurume mine, operated by a Chinese firm, aiming to increase profitability and stimulate economic opportunities for local SMEs, businesses, and economies. At the CMA summit, Minister Watum will contribute to the Ministerial Forum, engaging with African and international mining ministers to discuss strategies and best practices aimed at empowering Africa’s critical minerals industry.

As the official platform for deal signing, CMA 2024 represents an ideal platform for Minister Watum to meet with international investors, mining companies, and industry leaders to discuss potential collaborations and investment opportunities.

“The DRC is prioritizing the empowerment of SMEs and local businesses, recognizing their pivotal role in driving the sustainable growth in the critical minerals sector. As the industry continues to attract new investments, local SMEs are poised to unlock innovative solutions and infrastructure development that will propel the country’s critical minerals sector forward,” stated Rachelle Kasongo, Project Director, Energy Capital&Power.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Energy Capital&Power.