While it has minerals, Africa needs to compete for investment

11th November 2022

By: Nadine James

Features Deputy Editor


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Tullow Oil and The Metals Company nonexecutive director Sheila Khama, during her keynote address at the 2022 Council for Geoscience Summit last month, commented on her unease with the phrase ‘Africa is very rich in minerals’.

She described it as a “dangerous statement” that perpetuated the idea that Africa did not have to compete with the rest of the world for mineral exploration investment.

“While Africa is rich in certain minerals, Africa is not rich in all minerals.” Moreover, other countries on other continents also have these minerals and have fewer drawbacks, in terms of political stability, legislative certainty and ease of doing business.

However, she stressed that the more people repeated the phrase, “the more we give the sense that the investors coming onto our shores need us more than we need them.”

And yet, over the last 20 years, Africa’s share of exploration expenditure has declined significantly from what it was. Further, Khama noted that the bulk of this spend had been reallocated to countries and regions where the environment, from an investment policy perspective, was considered more conducive.

“If you look at the perception of Africa’s mineral endowment, and the level of the exploration budgets, African countries underperform, not relative to other countries, but to its potential.”

She noted that Africa should, at the very least, be attracting the same level of exploration spend as it did in previous years. “We should be seeing a spike now that there is a greater demand for the minerals for the transition to clean energy. But, when looking at Africa’s capacity to attract investment, the trend is downward.”

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor




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