Home » Rwanda and European Investment Bank Join Forces to Boost Green Mining Sector

Rwanda and European Investment Bank Join Forces to Boost Green Mining Sector

The agreement aims to create skilled jobs, support economic development and ensure environmentally and socially responsible development of critical raw material resources.

by Motoni Olodun

Rwanda has signed a joint declaration with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to enhance investment in the critical raw material value chains, a key component of the green and digital transitions. The agreement, announced on December 19, aims to create skilled jobs, support economic development, and ensure environmentally and socially responsible development of critical raw material resources.

Critical raw materials are essential for the production of high-tech devices, renewable energy sources, electric vehicles, and defense equipment. They include rare-earth elements and metals such as lithium, gallium, and germanium. However, the global supply of these commodities is often concentrated in a few countries, posing risks of disruption and dependency.

According to the EIB, the new partnership with Rwanda is the first of its kind between the bank and an African partner and follows similar agreements with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, and Zambia. The bank said it would leverage its global technical and financing expertise to cooperate with critical raw material partners in Rwanda explore new investment opportunities and increase access to finance for environmentally sound projects.

The EIB is the world’s largest international public bank and the lending arm of the European Union. It has been supporting sustainable development projects in Africa for more than 50 years, with a focus on climate action, infrastructure, private sector development, and innovation.

Rwanda is one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, with an average annual growth rate of 7.5% between 2010 and 2019. The country has also made significant progress in reducing poverty, improving governance, and enhancing human development. Rwanda is rich in mineral resources, especially tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold, which account for about 40% of its total exports. The government has expressed its commitment to diversify its mining sector and promote value addition and beneficiation.

The joint declaration was signed by EIB Vice President Gelsomina Vigliotti and Rwanda Finance and Economic Planning Minister Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, in the presence of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, during a two-day visit by Vigliotti to Kigali.

Ndagijimana welcomed the partnership and said it aligned with Rwanda’s vision of sustainable economic development. “We look forward to leveraging this exciting new partnership to create skilled jobs, support our economy, and ensure the responsible utilization of critical raw materials,” he said.

Vigliotti praised Rwanda’s leadership and said the agreement was an important step in line with the European Union’s Critical Raw Materials Action Plan, which aims to secure an affordable and sustainable supply of these vital commodities. “By working together, Africa and Europe can unlock new investment, create new jobs, and contribute to the responsible development of essential resources,” he said.

The EIB said it would also support Rwanda’s capacity development initiatives and help attract and better manage further climate capital. The bank noted that the partnership builds on the Resilience and Sustainability Facility arrangement with the International Monetary Fund, which provides Rwanda with $319 million in financing to build climate resilience.

The EIB also confirmed its support for the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation, attended the inauguration of Africa’s first mRNA vaccine production plant, and met political and development finance leaders during its visit to Rwanda.

The joint declaration is expected to boost the cooperation between Rwanda and the EU, which is already a major trade and development partner for the country. It also reflects the growing interest and investment in Africa’s green mining sector, which offers opportunities for innovation, value creation, and social impact.

Source: Mining Weekly

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