US must boost Africa ties to secure key minerals, report says – by Felix Njini (Reuters – April 9, 2024)

JOHANNESBURG/WASHINGTON, April 9 (Reuters) – The U.S. must boost commercial ties with African countries to curb reliance on China for supplies of critical minerals, a Washington-based think tank said on Tuesday.

“U.S. economic and national security depend on securing a reliable supply of critical minerals, including from Africa,” the United States Institute of Peace said in a report.

The U.S. is almost 100% reliant on “foreign entities of concern,” mainly China, for key critical minerals, it said, and must come up with own sources of supply to avoid being shorthanded and vulnerable to China’s export curbs.

Western mining companies are lagging Chinese rivals in the race to tap Africa’s abundant mineral resources, key to sectors from electric vehicle manufacturing to defence industries. To counter China’s head start in Africa, Washington must roll out “more vigorous commercial diplomacy with a keen eye toward building critical minerals partnership in Africa,” the 76-page report said.

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