The United States is aiding in the negotiation of a cease-fire for the Congo election, as various global powers compete for access to its crucial cobalt resources.

The United States is aiding in the negotiation of a cease-fire for the Congo election, as various global powers compete for access to its crucial cobalt resources.

If you own a smartphone, laptop, tablet, or electric car, it is highly probable that your device contains the mineral cobalt. mined

The Democratic Republic of Congo is responsible for about 70% of the global production of a crucial metal. As electric vehicle sales continue to rise and e-technology remains in demand, there are no significant new sources of cobalt expected to emerge, ensuring that this percentage will likely continue to increase.

Most lithium-ion batteries in electronic devices and vehicles contain cobalt as a safety measure against fires. The increasing demand for this metal has led to a significant rise in its price. It is now highly sought after by major tech companies around the world.

Professionals predict that the Democratic Republic of Congo’s land could potentially contain approximately 3.7 million tons of cobalt, which is nearly half of the global supply. Researchers at the company GlobalEdge suggest that the DRC’s unexplored mineral resources may have a value of over $24 trillion.

However, despite the Democratic Republic of Congo’s abundant reserves of copper, cobalt, gold, manganese, uranium, and platinum, more than 60% of its population lives below the poverty line. The country’s Finance Minister has reported a national inflation rate of slightly over 20%, surpassing even the struggling economies of Europe.

Armed groups are fighting for dominance, primarily in the resource-rich southern region.

Felix Tshisekedi, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo. speaks at a campaign rally

Felix Tshisekedi, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, addresses his supporters at a campaign rally in Kinshasa on December 18, 2023.

The image was taken by ARSENE MPIANA from AFP/Getty Images.

Experts estimate that over 6 million individuals, out of a total population of 100 million, have lost their lives in the past 30 years of conflict in the country. This ongoing violence has also resulted in the displacement of millions of people from their homes. The United Nations’ World Food Program has expressed concern over the food shortage, stating that they currently only have enough resources to provide for half of the 6.3 million individuals who are facing hunger in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On Tuesday, just before the Congolese people went to vote, the United Nations Security Council approved the request made by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to start the gradual removal of U.N. peacekeeping forces from the country in late December.

The previous week, American officials increased their efforts in diplomacy and played a crucial role in brokering a temporary halt to conflict that will remain in effect until December 28th, during the election proceedings.

According to a statement from Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the White House national security council, the Biden administration plans to utilize American intelligence and diplomatic resources to oversee adherence to the ceasefire by both military forces and non-state armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The United States government’s involvement in DRC politics and desire to maintain peace in the country may have motivations beyond purely humanitarian reasons.

has been loosened

The hold that China once had on the Democratic Republic of Congo’s valuable minerals has weakened.

For centuries, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been extracting copper, with cobalt being a secondary product. Until recently, American businesses were in possession of numerous cobalt mines in the nation. However, in the past decade, Chinese companies have been acquiring North American and European companies to dominate the cobalt mining industry in the DRC.

China is the top global manufacturer of the widely used lithium-ion batteries. As major economies prioritize the production of green technology to move away from fossil fuels, they will be motivated to regain control over the necessary raw materials.

Maurice Carney, leader of the Congo-focused non-profit group Friends of the Congo in Washington, stated to CBS News that the United States is closely monitoring the election because the outcome will impact economic and trade connections.

Carney pointed out that there are currently two bills being considered by the U.S. Congress that pertain to ensuring access to DRC’s cobalt for the sake of U.S. security interests.

He stated that the bills could be labeled as “anti-Chinese,” as U.S. legislators are becoming more worried about China’s dominance in the essential minerals needed for U.S. manufacturing supply chains.