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Pamoja Critical Minerals Alliance


The Pamoja Critical Minerals Alliance (PCMA) is a membership-driven movement for indigenous people, mining communities, activists, academia, media, labour movements, faith-based organisations, civil society organisations, and international charity organisations with an interest in monitoring the impact of increased extraction of critical minerals and related value-addition activities affecting people and nature.

Many African governments have expressed a wish to participate in all stages of the minerals value chain, and some countries have developed strategies and policies on specific commodities in this regard.


PCMA was established at a meeting of civil society organisations from Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held at Taj Pamodzi hotel in Lusaka, Zambia, in November 2023. Zambia and DRC are rich in the critical minerals needed for the global energy transition (e.g., lithium).

The meeting was organised to discuss the DRC and Zambian governments’ cooperation to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles (EVs). It was attended by thirty-six representatives of civil society from both countries. At the end of the meeting, the participants established PCMA.


PCMA is motivated by the need to mobilise indigenous and mining communities to demand that they benefit from their abundant mineral resources, that land and environment are protected from adverse impacts of extraction, and to promote the manufacturing of green technology. Pamoja stands for togetherness. It is inspired by the need for unity and the spirit of Pan-Africanism. PCMA was formed with the initial purpose of monitoring the implementation of the DRC-Zambia battery initiative and advocating for transparent and responsible governance within the critical minerals value chain. Since then, PCMA has been expanding fast.

The main goal of PCMA is to avoid a Green Curse for the African continent. If mechanisms and institutions and a new way of doing mining are not put in place, then Africa will miss the opportunities brought about by the energy transition.

PCMA pursues four main objectives:

  • to develop a regional movement that supports African governments’ growing interest in participating in the value chain of the manufacture of green technologies;
  • to monitor the extraction of resources and any other activities related to the energy transition to ensure maximum adherence to environments, biodiversity and human rights protection, and to fight against acts of corruption – the organisation prioritises social and environmental justice informed by the needs of communities;
  • to promote sustainable practices, capacity building, and dialogue to ensure that critical minerals are a catalyst for growth and economic development.
  • to foster collaboration between communities, research institutions, and civil society.


The global focus on securing an adequate supply of strategic minerals has largely overlooked the importance of retaining a reasonable portion of the value added through processing these minerals within the African countries where they are produced. With Africa (and particularly Southern Africa) hosting significant critical mineral deposits, there is an opportunity for the continent to play a central role in the manufacture of batteries for EVs and other technologies crucial for the energy transition.

While most Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries have expressed the intention to promote value addition to minerals before export, it is imperative to capitalise on the current high demand and price of these minerals that are critical for the energy transition. However, there are concerns, firstly, whether Africa has the capacity to move high on the value chain for green technologies. Secondly, there are concerns over the lack of transparency of agreements that African governments are signing with external powers such as the European Union (EU) and the USA. These agreements lack clarity on the economic opportunities and specific projects beyond battery plants, while also sidelining civil society and host communities. Thirdly, African governments are repeating the familiar mistake of excluding communities in the management of these resources. Fourthly there is no sign that governments and companies are concerned about the impact of mining on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.


Because PCMA is a membership-driven organisation, each participating country appoints a national coordinator. These coordinators serve as the primary point of contact, facilitation, and collaboration between members. The secretariat (currently managed by SARW) ensures alignment with Pamoja’s objectives. This structured approach fosters efficient coordination and implementation of initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable and accountable management and use of critical minerals in Africa, leaving space for each country to implement activities to respond to its particular realities.


  • Mobilisation: register new members and establish country structures and regional coordination hubs.
  • Public Awareness: organise events (such as football tournaments, music, dance, storytelling) and media engagement at local level to educate and mobilise people around critical minerals.
  • Convening conferences: bring together all the countries that have established functional national coordination, through a regional conference to exchange information and promote continental frameworks, including the African Mining Vision (AMV) and the African Green Minerals  Strategy.
  • Research: produce periodic policy papers on the governance of critical minerals on the continent.



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