Africa’s substantial cobalt, manganese, and platinum reserves can be used to build a robust manufacturing sector rather than merely being exported as raw materials, said African Development Bank Group (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina.

“Africa is a crucial source for minerals and metals for clean energy value chains, including electric vehicles and utility-scale battery storage. Africa is, therefore, the perfect place to build lithium-ion batteries to power German cars,” he told Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue.

Although the AfDB is spearheading efforts to unlock Africa’s vast renewable energy potential, with 86 percent of its power generation investments in renewables, Adesina said that natural gas should be a crucial part of Africa’s diversified energy mix to guarantee a secure energy supply for industries and residences.

“Africa must be given time to transition and be allowed to use its natural gas resources as a transition fuel, just like it is the case in Germany and Europe,” he said. 

Adesina stated Africa will do everything possible to expand the use of renewable energy, but the intermittency sources such as wind and solar cannot guarantee security of supply.

“Natural gas is a key part of the energy mix for assuring security of supply and critical for Africa,” Adesina noted.

(Writing by P Deol; Editing by Anoop Menon)