While the uncertainty around geo-economic trends including Brexit, the Trump win and increasing efforts by China to dominate the global economy may not bode well for the African mining economy, there may be favourable spin-offs.
Morne van der Merwe, managing partner and the head of global law firm Baker McKenzie's Corporate and M&A Practice in Johannesburg, says the conflicting views of the West and the East on economic globalisation could well present an opportunity for Africa.
“While there is continuing insecurity in the South African mining industry as a result of persistent regulatory insecurity, labour unrest and inadequate infrastructure, the different global headwinds could potentially drive foreign direct investment in the mining sector in Africa and the development of infrastructure in particular,” he says.
Janine Howard, associate at Baker McKenzie's Corporate and M&A Practice in Johannesburg, adds that China is currently one of the largest trading partners with Africa, a relationship that is largely fuelled by the China’s insatiable appetite for energy and minerals. South Africa, in particular, is China's largest trading partner in Africa and has solidified this position with significant encouragement for Chinese investment into various industries, including mining, beneficiation and manufacturing.