Welcome Letter

The MACIG brand is emblematic for GBR - often pronounced as "magic," a confusion which only makes it more memorable to its readers- MACIG is an acronym for Mining in Africa Country Investment Guide, a book going into its eighth year with this 2020-2021 MACIG West Africa edition.

When we first launched the book in 2014, West Africa was battling an Ebola outbreak as well as a global downfall in commodity prices. Comparatively, this year the themes that run throughout the report are the pandemic and, uncoincidentally, the bull run in gold prices. This time around we are also meeting our contributors and audiences in the digital space. Regardless of these changes, the scope of the report stays the same: to offer executives a frank account of the region’s challenges and opportunities in mining. Welcome to our first-time-digital MACIG West Africa 2020-2021.

More than disrupting everyday business, the pandemic dislocated the foundations of global trade; it altered trust, whether at an inter-governmental level or between managers and employees; and it forced the world to reassess what is essential. Business travelling, it turns out, is not as necessary as previously thought. Office-based work neither. The mining industry, however, was classified as an essential business in many countries, which allowed operators to continue during lockdowns. Finally, gold, though not necessary, became one of the most wanted assets in the context of economic fallout.

Sensitive to the global economic shock, the gold price had a strong reaction, peaking at over US2,000/oz mark earlier in the year and edging south of that figure since. The gold-dominated West African mining industry experienced a vigorous boost, manifested in higher cash returns for producers, and the return of investors for explorers. The first to benefit, the producers have pledged discipline, almost not to jinx the price, while juniors have finally been given both better ratings and better chances - chances to prove the region’s famed endowment.

This year, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal and other West African nations are celebrating 60 years since gaining independence from colonial rule. 2020 finds Ghana ready for another democratic transition, with elections scheduled for December, while Ivory Coast saw its twice-elected president controversially chosen for another term; Mali, meanwhile, is being led by a transitional government after its coup, earlier in August.

This year is also an important anniversary for GBR: we began globetrotting 20 years ago, seeking to connect the world’s markets with investors, to replace myths with facts, and to go straight to the sources. We would like thus to thank all of our contributors, old and new, those whom we met in person or over the screen, who took the time to discuss West Africa’s mining industry with us this year and we hope you enjoy the pages that follow.