The World Economic Forum has recently put together a world map of the global economy that is almost entirely covered in red - the color that designates economic recession in 2020. Out of 194 countries, only 16 are in green - those will see growth above 0%. A green cluster, formed of Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Benin, congregates on West Africa shores. Prior to the pandemic, this region counted six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world. Although their growth has been tamed, these countries are already recovering quicker than other parts of the world, partly by leveraging both their producing and prospective gold deposits.
The countries featured in this report - Ghana, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria - have all shown a stronger focus on mining in recent years; Mali has consistently increased its gold production, Ivory Coast seeks to double its output by 2025, while Nigeria races to join the mining club after decades of oil-centrism. If the gold spot price holds its current strength, governments have big incentives to develop their gold sectors. Attracted by gold, investment arriving in West Africa may also find opportunities in other minerals. Guinea has the world’s largest bauxite deposit, Gabon holds the second largest manganese reserves, and Ghanaian undeveloped lithium projects could feed into a rapidly growing global battery market.
From the outside, African countries are seen homogenously, but it is their diversity and fragmentation that defines the reality on the ground. Though the pandemic moved governments around the world to be more self-sufficient at best, and more nationalistic at worst, awaited developments such as the AfCFTA will create more cooperation and regional integration across Africa through forming the largest trade area in the world.
Drawing from over 50 interviews with executives based in Africa, Europe, Canada, and Australia, this report seeks to present the unique features of each jurisdiction included, as well as trends that go across the region and the different sectors of the value chain.