After years of delays and false starts, the game-changing Lobito Corridor is due to come back on track – thanks, in part, to the West’s new love affair with electric vehicles.
Copper, cobalt, lithium and other strategic mineral assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia are in growing demand, and sending them via Dar es Salaam, Beira and Durban is seen as taking too long and favouring importers to the east.
At present Walvis Bay is the only port on the west coast.
It is 2 264 kilometres from the Zambian copper town of Solwezi, while Lobito is a 1 800km trip by road.
Recent developments have put the Lobito rail link ahead of plans for Walvis Bay.
The US International Finance Corporation is evaluating $250 million in financing for the Lobito Atlantic Rail Corridor.
“The United States supports the development of the Lobito Corridor through an initial investment in a rail extension that could become the primary open-access transportation infrastructure linking the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia to global markets via Angola,” says the White House in a statement.
The funding is part of US President Joe Biden and the G-7’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) initiative for low- and middle-income countries.