Africa must embrace shifting world by exploiting ‘new’ commodities
From smartphones to 3D manufacturing, the fourth industrial revolution will need our minerals and metals, writes Ross Harvey
How drastically the world has changed since this time last year. The cumulative odds on a Trump electoral win and a "yes" to the Brexit referendum were 20 to 1. This shows how poor we are at predicting events — especially black swan events. Nonetheless, fund managers are tasked with interpreting data and predicting trends to allocate clients’ capital efficiently. With the 2017 Investing in African Mining Indaba taking place next week, how should they be thinking? Investment in mineral and metals exploration in Africa has been declining sharply (especially in SA) despite a forecast recovery for some commodity prices. Beyond the immediate question of where commodity prices are headed over the next few years, a longer-term question also needs to be answered: how might different commodity prices move against the broader backdrop of Donald Trump’s brave new world and the impending fourth industrial revolution? What implications do changing geopolitics and disruptive new technologies have...