Is the US falling behind China in Africa’s lithium industry?

NEW YORK (CNBC) – Mineral-rich nations like Zimbabwe are taking note. Zimbabwe is the sixth largest producer of lithium, and could potentially meet 20% of the world’s demand, CNBC said.

In December last year, President Joe Biden welcomed 49 African leaders for the second US-African Leaders Summit, saying that “United States is all in on Africa’s future”.

The summit was seen to restore relations, which were rocky during the Trump administration. Notably missing from the event, however, was Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has been under US travel sanctions since 2002. Foreign Affairs Minister Frederick Shava attended in his place, CNBC reported.

CNBC: Is the US falling behind China in Africa’s lithium industry?

While the US has made its intentions clear when it comes to engaging in African business, the reality is China has sunk its roots in the continent. It will be tough for the US to make up for the lost time. In 2009, China overtook the US as Africa’s largest trading partner, it wrote.

“America has not been consistent in the way it engages with Africa,” said Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “If you leave and come back 10 years later, that void you left will be filled by somebody else, so it’s important that we be consistent,” he said in CNBC.

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