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Fraser Institute survey shows marked declines in African countries’ investment attractiveness

The most recent Fraser Institute Survey of Mining Companies reveals that several African nations, including Niger, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Senegal, have ranked poorly in terms of investment appeal for mining exploration.

Unfortunately, Africa stands out as the region with the highest number of jurisdictions at the bottom of the Investment Attractiveness Index.

The survey collected feedback from 293 respondents worldwide between August of the previous year and January of the current year to evaluate how mineral resources and public policies, such as taxation and regulatory stability, impact investment in exploration.

The survey results are divided into two main categories: the Best Practices Mineral Potential Index, which assesses geological attractiveness, and the Policy Perception Index, which evaluates governmental policies and attitudes toward exploration investment. These indices together form the overall Investment Attractiveness Index, with geological potential accounting for 60% and policy perception for the remaining 40%.

The survey participants mainly consisted of company presidents, VPs (59%), and managers or senior managers (23%). The companies involved reported spending $4.1 billion on exploration in 2023.

Among the top-ranked African countries by Investment Attractiveness Index were Botswana, with a score of 76.87 (down from 82.75 last year), Morocco with 69.61 (down from 74.13), and Zambia with 64.23 (up from 41.18).

However, some countries saw declines. South Africa’s score dropped to 41.84 from 44.76, and Namibia’s decreased from 59.88 to 56.43.

Countries like Mozambique, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Tanzania also experienced lower scores this year. Mozambique, for instance, dropped to 31.90 from 34.96, ranking eighty-second out of 86 jurisdictions.

Niger ranked lowest with a score of 14.1 on the Investment Attractiveness Index.

On the Policy Perception Index, Botswana and Morocco maintained relatively positive scores, while South Africa showed improvement.

In terms of mineral potential, Zambia ranked the highest, followed by Botswana, while South Africa’s score declined. Niger scored poorly in both policy perception and mineral potential.

Overall, Africa’s median score for investment attractiveness decreased by nine points in the latest survey. Investors expressed growing concerns over environmental regulations, protected areas, and labor regulations in the region.

Globally, the United States, Australia, and Canada remained the most attractive regions for exploration investment, in that order.

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