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AMN - Change afoot in Ethiopia – comment by Yolanda Torrisi

Yol headshot May 2011

Political leaders across the continent see government policy change as a potential prompt for investment and the progression of new projects. While security problems can hamper project progression in countries such as Ethiopia, leaders have identified that incentives for explorers and developers are a potential game changer as governments and industry hope to move things forward across Africa.

The landlocked country of Ethiopia was ranked the least attractive African jurisdiction for investment in the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies for 2018. Its world ranking was in the bottom 10 for last year as it achieved a notable rank of 77th out of 83 countries ranked in the survey that came out in February.

In Africa, Ethiopia languished behind the African nations judged in the survey — Botswana (32/83), South Africa (43/83), Zambia (45/83), Mali (50/83), Namibia (60/83), Zimbabwe (62/83), Tanzania (66/83), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (67/83) and Ghana (68/83).

While conflicts in Ethiopia helped push down its investment attractiveness ranking in the Fraser ranking from 89th out of 122 in 2014 to 77th last year, and decline export earnings by US$470 million, or 78%, to $130 million, Ethiopia’s leadership is rightly looking to turn things around.

We as an industry should take note and extend our support as the government takes on board feedback to present a sensible policy for ministerial council approval.

The draft mining policy reforms State Minister of Ministry of Mines and Petroleum Assefa Kumsa has taken to industry in the past months outline a vision for the future — a vision with growth and transformation in mind. Incentives for developers, operators and explorers to embrace opportunities in-country is certainly a good way forward.

Mining and oil & gas are both prospective industries in the nation, with the nation’s Ministry of Mines and Petroleum continuing to receive and process licence applications and forward them to the council for consideration. It’s pleasing to see progress on the licensing front. Now we need progress at the project level. Perhaps the proposed mining and petroleum operations supervisory authority will be able to help.

A sector that has the chance to explore and the receptiveness to build new projects is one that has a chance to flourish. Let us be encouraged by change afoot in Ethiopia as we all look to move things forward.

- Yolanda Torrisi is Chairperson of The African Mining Network and comments on African mining issues and the growing global interest in the continent. Contact: yolanda@yolandatorrisi.com