Africa is home to 65% of all remaining unused arable land in the world, massive natural carbon sinks that both capture carbon and provide global ecosystem services, and significant resources of battery minerals
Africa’s land provides many opportunities for climate action for the world.
65% of all unused arable land in the world, is in Africa – making Africa key to global food production, especially when improvements in agricultural practices and inputs allow African farmers to achieve higher yields. African forests, mangroves, and peatlands store massive amounts of carbon, are home to unique biodiversity and maintain a global water cycle.
Africa also has significant resources of minerals that are used in battery production – and thus are key for the worldwide transition to renewable energy:
- Africa has nearly half of the world’s cobalt reserves – with DRC alone holding 46%
- Manganese is a mineral used in manufacturing lithium batteries. Three African countries (South Africa, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire) have 46% of all global reserves of manganese
- Zimbabwe is in the top 10 countries in the world in terms of lithium deposits and reserves
- Africa holds ~35% of global nickel deposits – South Africa alone holds 28%
- 6% of the global copper reserves are in DRC and Zambia alone
These minerals are currently extracted, exported, and processed mainly in China. As a result, Africa captures only a very small portion of the total value in the battery value chain – and transport emissions are significant across the chain.