Hassan highlighted Africa’s abundant resources, including cobalt, copper and nickel, and stressed the importance of harnessing these resources to provide energy to the continent and other countries. He emphasized the need to build regional power pools in Eastern and Southern Africa to ensure energy security across the continent. “By sharing energy resources, countries can ensure that they have a reliable source of energy even when there is a shortage in one region,” he said.
Ilham Kadri, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee at Solvay, spoke at the meeting, stressing the need for diversified supply chains for metals and rare earths such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and copper. These materials are essential components of EV batteries and other clean energy technologies, and having multiple sources is essential to avoid dependence on any one country. Kadri pointed out that China has built rare earth value chains for decades and to avoid “Russian gas supply syndrome”, Europe and other countries need to find diverse sources of these metals and minerals and localize battery assembly.
Discussions at the World Economic Forum also touched on the importance of policies that support the energy transition. Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, highlighted the opportunity for Europe to cut bureaucratic red tape, which would unleash opportunities for innovation, new jobs and working together on a European scale, otherwise “the real action will move to Asia and other parts of the world.” He acknowledged that Europe could quickly reduce its dependence on Russian gas, but it was a collective failure, not just Germany.
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