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When: Thursday, 01.06.2023, 19:00 – 21:00 Uhr

Where: Diplomatic Academy Vienna, Festsaal, Favoritenstraße 15a, 1040 Vienna

Please register: neuwirth@vidc.org

Due to the global climate crisis, CO2-emitting cars will no longer be permitted in the EU starting from 2035. At the same time, the share of renewable energy has to increase to at least 40%. But where are the ‘critical’ raw materials for all the batteries, wind turbines or solar plants that are needed for these targets to be achieved? In Europe itself, deposits are limited and there is resistance from communities, e.g., in Portugal and Serbia, to bring in destructive industries into their local environment. At the same time, in the EU and the US dependence on imports of ‘critical’ resources and ‘green’ technologies from China is frequently perceived as a geopolitical threat.

These multiple tensions fuel a ‘green scramble’ for raw materials, such as lithium or cobalt, that has already begun, most notably in Africa. The extractive rush once again could lead to a cycle of export dependence, environmental destruction and human rights violations. Production in many African countries is already expanding (DR Congo for cobalt and lithium; Ghana, Namibia or Zimbabwe for lithium, among others), and it has been contested by local activists for reproducing colonial patterns and looting (‘green colonialism’). Meanwhile, 600 million people on the continent have no access to energy – whether from renewable or fossil sources.

In this context, the discussion will focus on pertinent questions:

  • Which policies and pre-conditions are necessary to enable a green and just industrialization?
  • How could African countries harness their resource abundance and the ‘green’ technology boom towards the development of local economies?
  • How can EU policies and European industry actors play a positive role and contribute to a just transition – not only in Europe but in Africa as well? 
  • How can environmental, social and governance standards be reinforced to protect communities from the adverse impacts of mining?
  • How can energy poverty in Africa be tackled? Will oil and coal still play a role?


  • Mkhululi Nkosilamandla Ncube: Program Management Officer, African Union, Addis Abeba
  • Samantha Hargreaves: Founder and director of WoMin (Women in Mining), Johannesburg
  • Eszter Batta: Policy officer for Raw materials diplomacy, European Commission, Brussels
  • Karin Küblböck: Economist, Austrian Foundation for Development Research ÖFSE, Vienna
  • Moderation: Sophie Veßel: Senior Expert, Global Responsibility
  • Introduction: Martina Neuwirth (VIDC Global Dialogue)