Rising investor interest and regulation

“ Investor interest is getting stronger with the green energy transition at full steam and turmoil outside the region due to the Ukraine invasion. Exploration budgets targeting Africa continued to grow year over year in 2022, maintaining their (recent) 10% share of the global budget,” comments S&P Global Market Intelligence. But this is down from about 15%, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in 2013.

Two pieces of legislation- one in the US and the other the EU – reflect the changing strategies formed to combat the global vulnerability revealed by the Covid-19 pandemic in supply chains, perhaps none more so than those linked to the distribution of essential raw materials. Last August US President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act, which was designed to create a robust and reliable semiconductor supply chain. It is backed by tax credits and over $50bn for direct investments. Africa’s participation is at the fore.

“ At the State Department, we are participating in something called the Mineral Security Partnership, which includes not only partners in Europe, but also in African countries to advance this objective of ensuring that we have resilient and diversified supply chains not only in the critical minerals that are required for electric vehicles,

but also in the critical minerals that are required in the area of semiconductors,” Ramin Toloui, assistant Secretary of the US Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs told a press briefing.

The US State Department has since announced at Indaba talks on partnerships with Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

The EU followed suit in March this year with its Critical Raw Materials Act, announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during her 2022 State of the Union speech. Here she called for the EU to address its dependency on imported critical raw materials by diversifying and securing a domestic and sustainable supply. The EU Communication stated that the EU “proposes measures to support the diversification of supply chains through new international mutually supportive partnerships”.

Building on the intentions in the CRM act proposal, “the EU’s strategic partnerships with African countries could define a new role for the EU in CRM value chains and in Africa”, states Ludvine Wouters in a paper for the European Council for Foreign Relations.

She adds: “But the EU can only create a strong coalition around shared objectives by facilitating connections between the African mining sector, European industry, and African states.” The EU is thus planning to forge “strategic partnerships” with third countries, bringing to the table the African mining sector and European industrial actors – neither of which is currently engaged in these discussions. It plans to use its Global Gateway, set up to “narrow the global investment gap worldwide” to support infrastructure, connectivity, and CRM projects.

Through the Global Gateway the EU already has partnerships in number of African countries, and is seeking more. The European Investment Bank group and European development finance institutions could also help strengthen CRM value chains between the EU and Africa. It’s against this backdrop that the British based AME

trade ltd an independent Africa focused B2B event organizer is holding its flagship Mining on Top Africa Summit in Paris, thus providing a unique opportunity for European industry stakeholders to connect and network with top level decision makers from both public and private sector.

European companies are also beginning to show understanding of the need for direct investment in mining, as evidenced by recent announcements from Volkswagen and Stellantis.


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