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Building capacity to help Africa trade better

Are Critical Minerals Export Bans an Effective Tool for Achieving Diversification in Africa?

Trade Briefs

Are Critical Minerals Export Bans an Effective Tool for Achieving Diversification in Africa?

Are Critical Minerals Export Bans an Effective Tool for Achieving Diversification in Africa?

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As the drive to achieve net zero intensifies, the demand for critical minerals, essential inputs in many low-carbon technologies, is expected to grow exponentially. The global energy transition presents an opportunity for mineral-rich African countries to upgrade from their role as exporters of raw critical minerals into the downstream segments of global critical mineral value chains. Export bans on unprocessed critical minerals are one controversial and geopolitically-fraught policy tool for achieving this and have recently been introduced by a number of African states including Namibia, Ghana, and Zimbabwe. While the long-term effectiveness of such bans remains uncertain, they are seen as having the potential to catalyse the development of local processing industries. This Trade Brief examines the potential of export bans to stimulate economic diversification in Africa and suggests that, given challenges related to market power and industrial capacity, a collaborative regional strategy on mineral beneficiation may be a strategic path forward.

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