Strategic partnerships between countries and investment partners are gaining momentum, aiming to transform the continent, currently a net importer of batteries, into a self-sufficient region capable of meeting the growing battery storage demand and supplying European markets – similar to what has been witnessed in the vehicle industries of South Africa and Morocco.
Afrivolt, a South African energy company, is the latest entity to unveil plans for a massive lithium-ion cell factory in Africa, choosing the Atlantis Special Economic Zone in Cape Town for its first plant.
The rising demand curve is evident on the continent. In the first six months of 2023, South Africa alone imported US$1 billion worth of lithium-ion cells and batteries, a substantial rise from the US $0.7 billion imported in the entire year of 2022.
The current efforts to manufacture batteries on a large scale within the continent are motivated by the abundant mineral reserves required for battery production. Whether cobalt or lithium, manganese or nickel, graphite, and more, all the minerals necessary for battery manufacturing are available in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, or Gabon, among others. The DRC alone is estimated to have several million tonnes of lithium reserves.