Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo, which are rich in minerals that are essential for the production of batteries as well as other renewable energy components have been chosen to be the next venue in Washington’s and Beijing’s struggle to gain an advantage.
In order to counter China’s dominance in the world, Biden saw an opportunity for revitalization of a century old rail line that connected key African mines with an Atlantic Ocean port. The US has invested hundreds of millions in the Lobito Corridor project. In the mini documentary The US Can Rival China on the African Front we demonstrate how this initiative could provide a fast route for these essential elements to reach the US and European Union.
The US has been late in the game. In the 1970s, China built the first rail line from the Copperbelt in Tanzania to Dar es Salaam. Chinese state-owned company rebuilt an important railway line in Angola for an estimated $2 billion.
China has invested almost $1 trillion dollars in infrastructure projects in developing nations as part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative over the last decade. The US is nowhere near matching this. This may change now, as the Lobito Corridor is a model for the US President Joe Biden’s plan to invest $600 Billion in similar projects within five years.
China’s dominance is not limited to infrastructure. China controls a large portion of Congo’s production of copper, and US investments in Zambian mining are minimal. KoBold metals, a Silicon Valley-based startup, says it wants to change this dynamic. The company, backed by Bill Gates’ OpenAI and Sam Altman of KoBold metals, is racing to turn its massive copper deposit into a mine which will be the key beneficiary of Lobito Corridor project.