Botswana has slipped in rankings for attractiveness of mining destinations ranked by the Fraser Institute as perceived by mining and exploration companies.
After holding the title of “Top Mining Destination in Africa” in the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies over the years in terms of its “Investment Attractiveness,” Botswana has slipped sharply down the ranks in the latest survey.
“Botswana is no longer the highest ranked jurisdiction in Africa on policy, ranking 31th (of 84) this year after ranking 15th (of 77) in 2020,” the Canada-based think tank stated. According to the latest ranking, Botswana, the most attractive African jurisdiction and 11th in the world in 2020, is relegated to 66th place in the world and 9th place in Africa out of 15. Observers said the tumble in the ranking of Botswana, a country where no notable event has come to upset the mining landscape in recent months, raises questions.
The Fraser Institute indicated that, “Botswana’s significant decrease in its (Producer Price Index) PPI score – a 22 percent drop – reflects increased concerns over the uncertainty concerning protected areas (+63 points).” The Institute scored +38 points for political stability, (+38 points for labour regulations/employment conditions and +38 points for its taxation regime. The Investment Attractiveness Index is weighted 40 percent by policy and 60 percent by mineral potential.
Meanwhile, all African jurisdictions, with the exception of Namibia, Tanzania and Mauritania, saw declines in their policy scores. Two African countries, Zimbabwe (79th) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (78th), ranked in the bottom 10 of the survey rankings this year based on policy. Based on their overall investment attractiveness scores, four African jurisdictions were ranked in the global bottom 10 – Zimbabwe (84th), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (82nd), Mali (81st), and South Africa (75th).
Morocco, which did not feature in last year’s survey, is now the highest ranked jurisdiction in Africa and the second highest ranked jurisdiction globally based on policy. The kingdom performs particularly well in the areas of administration, interpretation, or enforcement of existing regulations, environmental regulations, regulatory duplication and inconsistencies, protected areas, and labour regulations/employment agreements.
No respondents indicated these policy factors deterred investment. Mali saw a significant decline in its PPI score (almost 29 points) and went from ranking 37th (of 77) in 2020 to 66th (of 84) this year. Investors expressed increased concerns over the country’s regulatory duplication and inconsistencies (+69 points), its socio-economic agreement/community development conditions (+65 points), and its legal system (+53 points).
Tanzania was one of three African jurisdictions (Namibia and Mauritania being the other two) that improved their PPI scores relative to last year (an increase of almost 3 points). The country went from ranking 72nd (of 77) in 2020 to 63rd (of 84) this year. Miners expressed decreased concerns over regulatory duplication and inconsistencies (-50 points), uncertainty regarding the administration, interpretation, or enforcement of existing regulations (-38 points), and uncertainty concerning disputed land claims (-21 points).
On the other hand, Zimbabwe, the lowest-ranked African jurisdiction based on policy (79th) and the least attractive jurisdiction for mining investment globally, experienced an almost 11-point decline in its policy score. All respondents claimed that uncertainty regarding the administration, interpretation, or enforcement of existing regulations, the country’s legal system, its taxation regime, its infrastructure, trade barriers, its political stability, and security were major areas of concern that discouraged investment in the country.