Zambia Looks to Cash From Hybrids Era as Top Copper Producer

Zambia must strategically place itself for economic gains once electric cars are eventually introduced onto the African continent says Dr Albert Muchanga, the Commissioner for Trade and Industry at the African Union.

Dr Muchanga was speaking in response to a question from Zambia’s Ambassador to Germany Mr. Anthony Mukwita who sought to know what Zambia could gain as a land linked country, as continents economy continues to expand with technological advancements.

This is according to a statement issued by First Secretary Press Kellys Kaunda on the side-lines of a high-level German-Africa Business day hosted by the influential German Southern Africa Business Association also known as African Verein in Berlin.

“As a copper producing country on the continent,” Dr Muchanga said, “Zambia could gain a lot by upping its game as electric cars eventually reach Africa. Zambia could be a hub and its economy could grow and jobs would be created.”

The conference dubbed ‘German Africa Business Day, Engaging in Smart Africa’ has drawn high-level participants from the diplomatic corps and business leaders from around the world.

“The idea is to plan for the future today and see how German and Africa could further business in the future and I think Commissioner Muchanga’s bait must be closely followed by economic think tanks back in our country Zambia.

Commissioner Muchanga is one of the few top exports of Zambia to the Africa Union, having worked previously as a diplomat in the United Kingdom and other countries.

Latest reports on the electric car front state that, increasingly as more and more companies and governments move to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, electric car ranges will increase.

Evidence say there will be need to expand the battery life and output of these cars in order to both contend with and surpass gas-powered vehicles.

Reports state that leading vehicle manufacturing nations in Europe have decided to forego diesel and petrol engines for electric ones.

This will be the single biggest technological leap since the introduction of the internal combustion engine by Nikolaus Otto in 1876 according to the same report.


Here in German and France for instance governments have voted to ban diesel and petrol-powered vehicles in 10 years according to one report.

To ensure this happens, Germany is offering subsidies valued at €1.2 billion to manufacturers on a first-come-first served basis.

In Norway, Consumers will receive a subsidy of €4,000 (Sh500,000) when buying an electric vehicle until 2020 Paris aims to outlaw diesel cars from the city starting from 2024.

While the sale of electric cars is still low, this is expected to change rapidly over the next decade.

Some countries like Norway have done extremely well with 32.5 per cent of cars on the road being either Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) or Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV).

In December 2017, Norwegians put 42 per cent of the country’s electric vehicles on the road, thanks to charging infrastructure and tax incentives.

They intend to phase petrol and diesel vehicles by 2025.

The growing number of electric vehicles hitting roads is set to fuel a nine-fold increase in copper demand from the sector over the coming decade, according to an industry report on Tuesday.

Increasing demand

Electric or hybrid cars and buses are expected to reach 27 million by 2027 globally, up from 3 million this year, according to a report by consultancy IDTechEx, commissioned by the International Copper Association (ICA).

“Demand for electric vehicles is forecast to increase significantly over the next ten years as technology improves, the price gap with petrol cars is closed and more electric chargers are deployed,” IDTechEx Senior Technology Analyst Franco Gonzalez said in the report.

Good news for copper countries

“Our research predicts this increase will raise copper demand for electric cars and buses from 185,000 tonnes in 2017 to 1.74 million tonnes in 2027,” Gonzalez said.

Zambia could gain from this surge once value addition is executed according to Ambassador Mukwita.

Electric vehicles use a substantial amount of copper in their batteries and in the windings and copper rotors used in electric motors. A single car can have up to six kilometers of copper wiring, according to the ICA.

The global market for copper is around 23.9 million tonnes, according to the International Copper Study Group.

That suggests electric vehicles could account for about 6 percent of global copper demand in ten years, according to analyst estimates, rising from less than 1 percent this year.

Ambassador Mukwita said although hybrids may appear like a pipe dream when spoken to some Africans, “it is better to dream big than think small if we are to develop as a copper nation, even as diversification is discussed.

The conference will be closed at a dinner hosted in honour of the diplomats and business leaders at Ellington Hotel in the heart of Berlin tonight.

Caption: Dr Albert Muchanga shares a moment with Ambassador Anthony Mukwita and a German businessman.




  1. Japhan

    When you say Zambia could gain from this,you mean politician? Because Zambia has been producing copper for years and still no development, hospitals have no medicines,schools are an eyesore and the towns where the same copper is been mined are pathetic. So which Zambia are you talking about? Look at Botswana,where their natural resources proceeds don’t just end up with politician, but is passed to it’s citizens. Politicians,stop being hypocrites.

    • Kalijo

      It’s actually foreign investors who would benefit the most. Copper mines are owned by foreigners as such all the proceeds from copper sales will have insignificant impact on the general population. Look at what has happened to the Mukula exports, what benefits have they have on the general citizenry?

  2. Marker

    I think despite having greedy politician if we can revisit the mineral tax, we can be somewhere.Condemning without actions means nothing. It’s high time we took governments to task.

  3. kedrick siame

    Zambia have expensive minerals but we are the best bergers.Just emagine there took our minerals to make a lot of things at a sem time there selling to us and then we start begging those money which is from our country i can’t blame it’s weakness of our leader and Africa mind set.

  4. Easy Easy

    Which benefit? Don’t think we even appreciate your utterances! Just imagine mealie meal prices rising even with bumper harvests in sequence;ask who benefited from mukula,etc?Just squander and plunder! Even when copper prices are bought at $1000000 per kg it will be your bellies to explode.God is watching, Zanja lalemba!!!

  5. FGM

    Zambia is in dire need of innovative entrepreneurs and Company CEOs to make our country not rag behind. ZAMTEL is one company that lacked innovativity when mobile phone network came on board. Despite being the owner of air waves in Zambia it failed to be the leading subscriber owner in the country. Air tel and MTN have more clients than Zamtel ( the air waves owners).

  6. nshilimubemba

    I thought it is the zambians who can make our politicians accountable by putting in laws to protect the general public .
    Keeping quiet will do nothing .
    It is only the law that can help out of this corruption in man , we all know that all humans are corrupt so the law is what should be respected and not politicians.

  7. Leonard

    Zambia ninkishi, Zambia the mountain of minerals all the minerals our neighboring countries have is from our mineral mountain we have in Zambia. There is no way the surrounding countries have Gold, Oil, ♦ Diamond , us we don’t have.

  8. Sj

    Same Law makers in Zambia are the same Law breakers. Let an ordinary man break the law and he’ll be battered to death like that Kitwe man who was killed for loitering.
    Law makers which include ama Choncholi this time around seem to walk to freedom after breaking the law, because money speaks/protects the mother tongue.
    Ama Choncholi need to be reminded upon hiring/recruitment that Zambians are not GUN carrying citizens.
    We the Citizenry will indeed benefit very little or nothing from that copper deal, save for empty promises. Comment

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