At the 2023 G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, last week, G7 leaders affirmed their commitment to identifying new opportunities to scale the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), U.S. President Joe Biden and the G7’s flagship infrastructure initiative for low- and middle-income countries.
To date, the United States has spent $30 billion through the PGII. One of the examples the Whitehouse cited was its support for the development of the Lobito Corridor (formerly known as the Benguela Railway) with an initial investment in a rail expansion project that would connect the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia, two major copper mining regions, with global markets through Angola. PGII is also hoping to connect the Lobito Corridor to Tanzania and, ultimately, the Indian Ocean.
The U.S. International Development Finance Corp. (DFC) is currently performing due diligence on a $250 million financing project for the Lobito Atlantic Railway Corridor – an open access rail line from Lobito Port in Angola to the DRC border. This deal would be the DFC’s first investment in rail on the continent.
“The Lobito Corridor will soon be one of the most important trade routes for vital copper metal and other critical minerals required for our planet’s energy transition,” said Robert Friedland, executive co-chairman of Ivanhoe Mines. “The proposed investment by the U.S. Government emphasizes that a coordinated global effort is required to upgrade critical infrastructure across sub-Saharan Africa to unlock the tremendous potential of this region.” Ivanhoe, a Canadian company, and its Chinese partners operate a large copper mine in the DRC and they are upgrading a massive zinc mining operation in the region. The company currently exports its product through Durban, South Africa.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank (U.S. EXIM) also approved for Congressional notification an initial $900 million in financing for two solar projects that will generate more than 500 megawatts of renewable power to help Angola, an oil-exporting nation, meet its climate commitments.
The U.S. has also facilitated a strategic partnership between Life Zone Metals and TechMet. During U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’ African visit, Life Zone Metals announced an agreement with the Tanzanian Government to open a new multi-metals processing facility that will use “innovative, low-emission technology” to process nickel and other critical minerals mined in Tanzania, targeting the delivery of battery-grade nickel to the global market as soon as 2026.
The PGII, with the help of Citi, is also investing $346 million in a wind farm in Brazil, which will reduce the carbon footprint of the local aluminum industry.