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Speaking on the first morning of Investing in African Mining Indaba 2022, held in Cape Town, His Honourable Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, President of Botswana, highlighted the investment opportunities available in Africa
The President opened by emphasising his delight at being able to attend this year’s edition (the 28th of its kind) after appearing virtually last year ̶ a sentiment no doubt shared by everyone present. He continued that, while the world is not out of the woods yet, the return of the conference is a sign that things are beginning to return to normality.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, climate concerns have come into even greater focus, which is why the conference this year is held under the theme ‘Evolution of African Mining: Investing in the Energy Transition, ESG and the Economies’. Masisi noted that, since the adoption of the Paris Agreement which came into force in 2016, many countries have embarked on efforts to assess the consequence of climate change and have brought in policies to support the transition to low-carbon economies.
“The evolution of mining in Africa is one characterised by mixed fortunes. This year’s theme comes at the right time, when many jurisdictions are at a crossroads, searching for the right path to their sustainable goals.”
Botswana has aligned itself with these ideals and has brought in policies to strengthen the Government’s role in mineral management with these in mind. Guided by these principles, the Government is ensuring the timely development and implementation of mineral projects fostering a competitive environment for investment underpinned by a stable, predictable fiscal regime to ensure security.
Noting that there remains a significant amount of resources in Botswana which are still undiscovered, Masisi described how his government is mounting a significant investment into pre-composition data in order to showcase the potential of the country and encourage investment.
“We continue to expand our geological knowledge by mapping subsurface geology in order to unlock potential… We therefore implore mining investors to seriously consider coming to Botswana to carry out exploration and mining projects.”
Since the discovery of diamonds in Botswana in 1967, the President continued, minerals have played a leading role in taking Botswana from one of the poorest countries to one of middle income status. Minerals remain central to the country and while it is dominated by diamonds, it also has reserves of coal, gold, nickel, uranium, magnesium, iron ore and more.
“This conference is taking place at the right time when the world is emerging from a pandemic that brought business to a standstill. There are now signs of recovery in human health and economies which are beginning to show as countries continue to vaccinate. Botswana has now vaccinated more than 64% of its population and this should incentivise investors to visit the country.”
It was on this note that the President concluded his speech, by emphasising the positive prospects of the mining sector in Botswana which is expected to continue into 2022 in line with the increasing demand for diamonds and the boost to copper production which was mounted in 2021.
“The Government has gone to great lengths to create an environment conducive for investment. We want to extend to all an invitation to visit Botswana and invest in the vast amount of mineral resources.”