Lagos to Mombasa: How Can Critical Minerals in Africa Support Clean Energy and Uplift Communities?

Africa is home to 30 percent of the world’s critical minerals reserves—that is, natural materials like copper, lithium, and nickel that are essential for economic and security purposes. They also play an important role in powering clean energy systems. But we can't discuss a transition to clean energy without acknowledging the ongoing energy crisis in Africa: more than 600 million people on the continent do not have reliable electricity and clean cooking. How do we reconcile these challenges?   

In this episode of Lagos to Mombasa, Gyude reflects on this question and more with Ayaan Adam (Senior Director of the Africa Finance Corporation and CEO of AFC Capital Partners) and Juliet Akamboe (former head of Mining & Metals West Africa for Standard Bank Group). Together they discuss how to strengthen processing and refining operations across the continent, build regional cooperation, address the detrimental impact of mines in local communities, and harness critical minerals to uplift mining regions.  

A few acronyms came up in the conversation, so here’s a quick reference:  

  • AFC: Africa Finance Corporation 

  • AfCFTA: African Continental Free Trade Area 

  • ECOWAS: Economic Community of West African States  

  • DFI: Development Finance Institution 

  • ESG: Environmental, Social, and Governance  

  • GHG or GSG: Greenhouse Gas 

  • ICT: Information, Communication, Technology (infrastructures) 

  • IRA: Inflation Reduction Act 


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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.