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The government of Rwanda and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a joint declaration, on December 19, enabling a strategic alliance to enhance investment in critical raw material value chains.

This agreement will strengthen technical and financial cooperation to identify critical raw material sector investment that creates skilled jobs, supports economic development and ensures environmentally and socially responsible development of critical raw material resources.

Proceeding from this agreement, EIB global technical and financing teams will increase cooperation with critical raw material partners to explore new investment opportunities and increase access to finance for environmentally sound projects that contribute to the sustainable long-term economic development.

The collaboration signifies a collective effort to foster sustainable development, strengthen economic ties and address the growing global demand for critical raw materials, including base metals, battery materials and rare earths.

This is the first critical raw materials agreement between the EIB – the world’s largest international public bank – and an African partner, and follows agreements between the European Commission and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia and Zambia.

The signature of the partnership by EIB VP Gelsomina Vigliotti and Rwanda Finance and Economic Planning Minister Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana was witnessed by Rwandan President Paul Kagame and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, during a two-day visit by Vigliotti to Kigali.

Ndagijimana emphasised the positive impact on the nation’s development, stating, “This joint declaration with the EIB aligns with Rwanda’s commitment to sustainable economic development.”

“We look forward to leveraging this exciting new partnership to create skilled jobs, support our economy, and ensure the responsible utilization of critical raw materials,” he adds.

Vigliotti highlights that this new partnership represents an important step in line with the European Unions Critical Raw Minerals (CRM) Act. “It is important to secure access to the critical raw material value chain in accordance with the required environmental, social and governance standards and without which the green and digital transition is not possible.”

By working together, he says Africa and Europe can unlock new investment, create new jobs and contribute to the responsible development of essential resources.

With the newly formed partnership, the EIB actively supports the implementation of the European CRM Act ­– a crucial step toward securing an affordable and sustainable supply of critical raw materials.

This Act, announced by the European Commission in March and adopted by the European Parliament in September, sets the stage for a sustainable and resilient raw material value chain.

During his visit to Rwanda, Vigliotti also confirmed EIB support for the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation, attended the inauguration of Africa’s first mRNA vaccine production plant and met political and development finance leaders