I had the honour of attending the African Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town earlier this month, alongside a number of high-profile investors, suppliers and other stakeholders from over 40 African countries.
A major event for those in the mining industry, I was happy to learn more about reform, policy and innovation in the sector, as well as exploring opportunities for the British Virgin Islands to support the exciting developments taking place across the continent.
The three-day event was a forward-looking affair, with topics ranging from what the industry is doing to address climate change, de-carbonisation and sustainability, through to how to attract the next generation of miners to drive change in the sector.
Discussions were lively and provided plenty of food for thought. The use of technology to improve sustainability, for example, was a core theme throughout with many industry experts believing it will be key to ensuring the long-term viability of the sector.
Opportunity for Africa
Despite the inevitable questions that the sector will face over the coming years as the world around us continues to move – and rightly so – towards a more sustainable mindset, significant opportunities remain.
Following the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in 2018, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimated that the bloc will boost intra-African trade by 52% by 2022. Paired with the entrepreneurial spirit of business leaders in Africa, as well as the wave of innovation permeating through the mining industry at present, we in the British Virgin Islands are excited about what the future holds for the continent.
The role of IFCs
In order for the AfCFTA to meet its true potential it will need to secure funding at a global level, much of which will be mediated through international finance centres (IFCs).
According to a recent report commissioned by BVI Finance from the Overseas Development Institute – an independent, non-profit, global think tank – IFCs, such as the BVI, galvanised additional finance to developing countries worth $1.6 trillion between 2007 and 2014, boosting their GDP by $400bn and tax revenues by $100bn during that period.
The BVI already holds longstanding relationships with a number of African countries, including Nigeria, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana, and we have a decades-long track record supporting the growth trajectory of many developing nations, including China.
International finance centres, such as the BVI, can act as independent hubs to mitigate risk and encourage trade and business across borders, as well as providing an impartial hub for international investors coming together from multiple countries. In addition, we offer a trusted legal system based on English common law, a dedicated commercial court and a range of innovative business structures to create an attractive environment for those keen to invest in opportunities across Africa.
A mutual partnership
We in the BVI believe that our partnership with Africa is a mutually beneficial relationship which works both ways. With our ambitions and vision for the future naturally intertwined, we have confidence in the flexible, long-term strategic approach that we provide investors and businesses alike.
Ultimately, our message is simple: we are your partners and BVI means business.