Who will lead
Africa’s resource development?
I think it will
be driven by private companies and investors. As the continent
develops and its economies continue to strengthen, this will
push investment forward.
nationalised mining charters are unlikely to be the most
successful mechanisms for promoting mining development and I
think governments are going to start looking at other ways of
managing their mining sectors.
As for where
the capital will come from, I think it’s likely to
be a mix of home grown and foreign investment. As a continent,
Africa is one of the fastest growing economies, averaging
around 5% growth per annum, so there are some domestic
investors putting themselves forward, but at the same time,
there is a large amount of international capital flowing into
From an outside
perspective, it is key to understand the different nuances of
Africa and appreciate that it has a patchwork of different
realities across the continent.
What incentives or
preconditions need to be laid down to attract investors into
Africa’s mining sector?
harmonisation of practices will help to drive investment en
One of the
things Mining Indaba tries to do is provide a platform and a
forum for these sorts of discussions.
It is important
to remember that even though the commodities sector is down
globally, economies are still growing in many parts of Africa
– that’s something that investors want to
put money into.
four or five years ago were completely off limits are now
growing with significant investment. If you take Rwanda as an
example, a few years ago you couldn’t do anything
there, but now it’s rated ahead of Italy as a
place to invest.*
What have been the chief
barriers to investing in Africa to date and how can these be
One of the
biggest obstacles has been the lack of consistency in
government policy and legislation in many areas. This prevents
investors from feeling comfortable that the rules they sign up
to today will be the same in three or four years’
money in, people want to know what investing in a particular
country is like. They need to be sure that policies
won’t change overnight.
that, there have been issues with logistics and infrastructure
as companies look at investing in mines in increasingly remote
locations. Not only have they got to get there, but they have
then got to think about shipping material out to markets, so
this has certainly been a barrier in the past.
there’s the labour scenario and getting that to a
point where there’s some consistency.
is the issue of sustainability and community engagement. It is
important that communities are engaged in the early stages of a
mining project so that it doesn’t get derailed
further down the path.
Do you think the Ebola
crisis has set Africa back?
impossible to look at the Ebola scenario and not be very aware
of the magnitude of it and the tragedy that it represents.
coverage of the situation was helpful in that it drew attention
to what was happening, but at the same time it possibly gave
the wrong impression of the extent of its effect on Africa as a
whole – it was quite a small area that was
In the mining
sector, Ebola has impacted some of the companies operating in
that region [West Africa], but if you look at the wider
picture, the effect on mining has been very minimal.
What are you hoping for
from this year’s Mining Indaba?
The purpose of
the event is to bring together investors, mining companies and
governments to put capital to work on the continent of
If you look
back on what has happened in Africa during previous down-cycles
in the commodities sector, it hasn’t happened to
the same degree in this downturn.
the fact that Africa’s economies are growing
beyond the mining sector – population growth,
increasing urbanisation and mineral scarcity are all realities
which bode well for mining, both on and off the African
I think we will
see evidence at this year’s Mining Indaba that the
industry will come back even more aggressively from these
cyclical challenges than it has in the past.
*Based on a business practice
ranking by the Transparency International Corruption Perception
Index in 2014, which places Rwanda at 55 and Italy at