Ebook | How can the Super Region enable the energy transition?

Collaboration between governments and markets in the region spanning Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia can unlock the Super Region's full metals and mining potential. In this ebook, we explore the many opportunities for the region to play a vital role in the energy transition – and the challenges it must overcome

3 minute read

Patrick Barnes

Vice President, Head of Metals & Mining Consulting

Patrick has over 10 years of experience helping foster development of stable and equitable mining sectors.

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Chris Sum

Vice President Consulting, Middle East

Chris advises governments and businesses in the Middle East on strategy, energy policy and development.

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The Super Region, spanning Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia, has historically been a focal point of global trade and economic activity. From the post-WWII era of globalisation and the dominance of oil to the current shift towards a new energy landscape, the Super Region remains pivotal in global economics, climate and geopolitics.

Its enduring significance is underpinned by key factors: the continued importance of oil and gas in the global economy, with the Middle East playing a crucial role in providing secure conventional resources; the region's population growth and urbanisation, particularly in Africa and South Asia, driving future economic growth; and the potential for the Super Region to lead in renewable energy, leveraging abundant solar resources.

Today, the Super Region holds a strategic opportunity for governments and industries to contribute significantly to the world's energy transition through mineral production, project financing and product manufacturing.

Our recent ebook, ‘How can the Super Region enable the energy transition?’, explores the region’s unfulfilled potential in detail, as well as the opportunities facing the region and how it can chart a path forward for the energy transition. You can download your free copy of the full ebook by filling out the form on the right. Or, read on for a short summary of the key challenges and opportunities.  

Why isn’t the Super Region achieving its full potential?

When compared to global competitors, individual countries in the Super Region face major challenges to independently expand their presence in mineral supply chains.

In Africa, finance is a binding constraint. Much of the continent remains geologically underexplored due to an immature financial ecosystem and high perceptions of risk. The cost of capital also limits the project pipeline and prevents the continent from reaching its full potential. Lending interest rates in key mining jurisdictions like the DRC and Zambia are 23% and 10%, respectively, compared to 3% and 4% in the United States and China. Capital constraints hinder the development of resources and supporting infrastructure like electricity, railroads and ports.

The problem is quite different in the Middle East. While Middle Eastern countries have access to capital and mineral resources, they lack sizable reserves and production. The Middle East currently produces 35% of global oil but does not produce meaningful quantities of cobalt, nickel, lithium or graphite.

Much of South Asia, meanwhile, lacks the financial vehicles of the Middle East and the mineral resources of Africa. This creates difficulties for sourcing the raw materials needed to meet countries’ mineral demand and fuel the region’s anticipated growth in manufacturing capacity.

What are the opportunities facing the Super Region?

The Super Region holds unique advantages that position it as a key player in mineral production and clean energy technologies, offering a counterbalance to China's dominance in the energy transition ecosystem. For example:

  • Africa stands out with substantial global reserves, including 79%, 44%, and 21% of global cobalt, manganese, and natural graphite, respectively. Despite high-quality deposits, challenges persist, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo facing investment reluctance due to ESG concerns.
  • The Middle East contributes capital, established investment mechanisms, and expertise in financing long-term projects, with sovereign wealth funds controlling trillions of dollars. Leveraging this, the region can invest in mineral supply chains within the Super Region. Additionally, the Middle East's technological prowess positions it to play a crucial role in decarbonising steel, potentially accounting for 30% of global direct reduced iron production by 2050.
  • South Asia, particularly India, presents significant demand potential, with forecasts of adding 152 GW in solar capacity by 2030 and substantial growth in electric vehicle sales. Its competitive advantages, including a skilled workforce, low capital costs, and port access, make it an ideal hub for midstream and downstream operations in mineral supply chains.
  • Central Asia, exemplified by Kazakhstan, holds strategic reserves of minerals like chromite, manganese, and uranium, further enhancing the Super Region's significance.

Learn more about how the Super Region can help lead the energy transition

To find out more about how the Super Region can overcome the key challenges outlined above, download your free copy of our latest ebook, ‘How can the Super Region enable the energy transition?’, by filling out the form at the top of this page.