Sa­hel and West Africa Min­ing Con­fer­ence and Ex­hi­bi­tion

Africa Outlook - - Contents - Writer: Matthew Staff

Africa’s largest min­ing event in Europe

“WE ARE DE­LIGHTED to wel­come you to the first ever Sa­hel and

West Africa Min­ing Con­fer­ence and Ex­hi­bi­tion. In a few months, this mus­tat­tend event has rapidly de­vel­oped to be­come the largest min­ing event on Africa in Europe… Over the course of the next two days, this show­case of de­vel­op­ments in African min­ing will fea­ture ex­cel­lent solo pre­sen­ta­tions and panel dis­cus­sions by govern­ment of­fi­cials, min­ing com­pa­nies and African min­ing ex­perts. The Sa­hel and West Africa Min­ing Con­fer­ence is unique in Europe as it gath­ers Min­istries of Min­ing from Nige­ria, Ghana, Mali, Sene­gal, Guinea, Burk­ina Faso, to­gether with African-focused fi­nanc­ing in­sti­tu­tions, ge­o­log­i­cal re­search houses, and a mul­ti­tude of African pro­duc­ers, de­vel­op­ers and ex­plor­ers; while keep­ing in­tact this

in­ti­mate at­mos­phere that guar­an­tees high qual­ity busi­ness dis­cus­sions.”

These were the in­tro­duc­tory words of Hus­sein Allawi and Jawad Allawi, the CEO and Head of In­vestor Re­la­tions of Frontier Ex­change, the hosts of this year’s Sa­hel and West Africa Min­ing Con­fer­ence and Ex­hi­bi­tion, which took place at One White­hall Place in Lon­don, UK on 8-9 May.

While, on the con­ti­nent, nu­mer­ous events and ex­pos at­tract the lead­ing de­ci­sion makers across en­ter­prise and govern­ment to dis­cuss, trou­bleshoot and even do busi­ness in some cases; the lo­ca­tion of this par­tic­u­lar event shines a light on the glob­al­i­sa­tion of cer­tain sec­tors and in­deed the grow­ing in­flu­ence of African economies on the rest of the world. And of course, one of the lead­ing driv­ers of such eco­nomic preva­lence in Africa - es­pe­cially West Africa - is min­ing.

To this end, the two days of thought-shar­ing and pro­duc­tive di­a­logue that took place in early May in Lon­don proved to be a re­sound­ing suc­cess as dif­fer­ent re­gional ex­perts gath­ered to­gether to pin­point the chal­lenges, suc­cesses, les­sons and po­ten­tial of Sa­hel and West African min­ing.

One over­rid­ing topic of dis­cus­sion de­rived not from an over­view of the re­gion as a whole, but from an anal­y­sis of the re­gion’s lead­ing pro­tag­o­nist, Nige­ria.

Fol­low­ing the oil price crash, Nige­ria has made a point of di­ver­si­fy­ing its eco­nomic driv­ers, with min­ing one of the key in­dus­trial do­mains turned to as a con­se­quence. Nat­u­rally, the coun­try has al­ready at­tracted a lot of for­eign direct in­vest­ment, and thanks to out­stand­ing growth in min­er­als, and an eas­ing of the li­cence is­suance process, the coun­try can look for­ward to a pos­i­tive tra­jec­tory ahead.

Is­sues sur­round­ing chal­lenges and opportunities, tech­nol­ogy’s in­flu­ence, sus­tain­abil­ity, and fi­nance formed the crux of much that was talked about over the 48 hours, but per­haps the most fas­ci­nat­ing thread was fa­cil­i­tated by hav­ing an African-cen­tric event tak­ing place in Europe.

This re­volved not around in­ter­nal views on suc­cesses and chal­lenges, but around the rest of the world’s per­cep­tion of West African min­ing’s suc­cesses and chal­lenges. A very strong and hon­est panel dis­cus­sion gave new per­spec­tive on where the re­gion re­ally is in com­par­i­son to other parts of the world, lend­ing to an ex­tent of knowl­edge shar­ing that is dif­fi­cult to achieve from African-hosted ex­pos.

‘Fol­low­ing the oil price crash, Nige­ria has made a point of di­ver­si­fy­ing its eco­nomic driv­ers, with min­ing one of the key in­dus­trial do­mains turned to as a con­se­quence’

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