Annemarie Roodbol's Posts (7)

Walkabout Resources has a long history of exploration and resource development in Africa, and the phrase “African focus, Aussie know how” explains the company perfectly. 
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Begna_Gebreyes.jpg?profile=RESIZE_710xCan you share some background on AFC? 
AFC is an investment-grade multilateral finance institution that was established in 2007 by an agreement between African sovereign states, including Nigeria. We wish to become Africa’s leading infrastructure solutions provider and our mission is to foster the economic growth and industrial development of African countries while delivering a competitive return on investment to our shareholders. 

AFC’s investment approach combines specialist industry expertise with a focus on financial and technical advisory, project structuring, project development and risk capital to address Africa’s infrastructure development needs and drive sustainable economic growth. We invest in high-quality infrastructure assets that provide essential services in the core infrastructure sectors of power, natural resources, heavy industry, transport, and telecommunications. 

We are proud of the contributions we have made towards closing Africa’s infrastructure gap. To date, AFC has invested approximately US$4.5 billion in project within 29 countries. 

What is your role at AFC? 
My role at Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Africa’s leading investment grade infrastructure solutions provider, is Senior Vice President of Investments. In this role I support AFC by identifying, reviewing and developing investment opportunities in natural resources (which includes mining and oil & gas), transport, power, heavy industries and telecoms throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Can you tell us about some exciting projects in the mining industry AFC is involved in currently? 
There is a tremendous amount of opportunity in the mining sector all across Africa. Our goal is to grow our investments in mining, over the next few years, to over US$500 million. There are many exciting projects that merit investment. 

For example, we are working with an Australian-listed company, Danakali, which is developing a potash deposit, Colluli, in Eritrea. Our role is Mandated Lead Arrangers (alongside Africa Export Import Bank) and we have executed a mandate for the provision of US$200 million in debt. We are very much looking forward to this project’s development because potash is a very important mineral that is used in fertilizer to keep soil fertile over time. The Colluli project is not only high quality and high purity but also shallow and easy to mine as well as easy to transport due to its proximity to the coast. We are very proud to be supporting Danakali. 

Another exciting project we’re involved with is here in Nigeria with Thor Explorations. We have offered the company a US$78-million financing package for its Segilola Gold Project. This funding solution includes a credit facility, a gold stream and common equity. Nigeria is known around the world as a major oil producer but much less so for its mineral resources. We are very proud to be supporting the growth of Nigeria’s fledgling mining industry. 

What is your vision for the industry? 
At AFC, our mission is to foster economic growth and industrial development of African countries while delivering a competitive return on investment to our shareholders. We believe that one can invest ethically, with high standards, impact lives and shape Africa’s future while also generating exceptional returns for our partners, investors and shareholders. 

This goes hand in hand with our vision for the mining industry – we believe it can be developed in a way that brings sustainable and inclusive growth for all stakeholders – including owners, shareholders, local workforce, community residents, etc. 

What are the trends you are seeing in the mining industry? 
As I mentioned earlier in regard to Thor Explorations, the financing was part credit, stream and equity. I believe that streaming will become a more prominent alternative to financing because it gives companies the financial solutions they need without diluting their existing shareholders nor adding significant and onerous layers of debt to their balance sheets. AFC, as an investor, particularly likes this form of financing due to the speed and efficiency of transacting. 

Another trend we’re seeing in the mining industry is the ecosystem approach to investing and developing projects. Nothing happens in a vacuum – a mine needs a seaport to transport the product to its consumers, a road to get to the port, electricity, internet, etc. When mining companies and their stakeholders work together, instead of in silos, they are more efficient and effective with their investments (because of economies of scale and synergies). This increases their competitive advantage and, in the end, alleviates key social, economic and environmental risks. 

What is the main message you’d like to share with Nigeria Mining Week delegates? 
The main message I’d like to share with the delegates at Nigeria Mining Week is that Nigeria is open for business and is ready to make the most of its mineral wealth. Less than 0.5% of the country’s GDP comes from minerals and mining. However, the country has much to offer such as coal, gold, iron ore, uranium, wolframite, columbite, tantalite and bitumen. Diversifying away from oil, which is unpredictable in pricing, is key to ensuring the country’s stability as is maximising our mineral wealth instead of importing from abroad. 

However, it goes without saying, that this will not be done at any cost. Delegates must understand that Nigeria’s mineral wealth must be exploited in a way that is inclusive and sustainable, and more thought must be given to in-country beneficiation so that Nigerians are not only producing natural resources but also manufacturing finished products. 

The other message I have is AFC is very keen to support its host country diversify from hydrocarbons and into mining. We welcome inbound inquiries from companies that have exploration-, development- and production-stage projects that will be instrumental in Nigeria and Africa’s overall development.

Register to attend Nigeria Mining Week here:

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Exclusive interview with Mr Cyril Azobu, PwC Nigeria’s Head Advisory and Mining Sector Leader. The upcoming Nigeria Mining Week in Abuja in October is jointly organized by PwC, Spintelligent and the Mining Association of Nigeria (MAN).


How excited are you about this year’s Nigeria Mining Week? What is new for 2019?
Our partnership with iPAD Nigeria and the Miners Association of Nigeria in the organisation of the Nigeria Mining Week continues this year. We’re pleased to put together another insightful and engaging conference this October in Abuja which will bring together critical stakeholders to rub minds and share ideas towards evolving a more profitable solid minerals sector in Nigeria. This conference has now become established as the premier annual event on the sector’s calendar and we are proud of this.

As has been the trend, the gathering will feature a packed and exciting programme to be driven by subject matter experts, policy makers, thought leaders and entrepreneurs active in the sector both locally and abroad. The topics for the speakers and panel session have been carefully selected to ensure the conference addresses the trending issues in the sector and adds value to participants.

Perhaps what makes this year’s event even more interesting is that following the inauguration of the new administration, new ministers have only recently been appointed for the ministry in the persons of Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite and Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, the honourable minister and honourable minister of state respectively. This is likely going to be their first major interaction with the stakeholders in the sector and it will be great to hear them share their vision and aspirations for the sector during their tenure. 

What have been the main challenges for the mining sector in the last year?
I will start by acknowledging that some significant progress was made in the last four years by the previous leadership of the ministry. Several issues however continue to constitute a challenge to the sector. For example, Despite the reconstitution of the SMDF, the impact is yet to be felt in the industry. On the other hand, commercial banks remain skeptical and continue to assess the industry as high risk. In addition, the existence of multiple regulations is reducing investor confidence as the cost and requirements to adhere to these have contributed to a seeming lack of interest in the industry. Data which is at the heart of the industry is not robust enough to support investment inflows and key infrastructure such as access roads, dedicated rail lines, power, etc remain a challenge amongst others. 

What have been the main accomplishments for the sector in your view in the last 12 months or so?
In the last 12 months, there are a few notable achievements I can point to. For example, there have been efforts to improve the sector's regulatory framework with enactment of new laws and establishment of the National Council of Mining and Mineral Resources Development. Notably, The Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geo-sciences, Jos (Establishment) Act was assented to by the president in November 2018 for training of manpower for the sector and research. In addition, the Federal Government in 2018 presented a Roadmap for the “Development of Nigeria's Industrial Minerals”, developed by the World Bank assisted Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) Project.  In addition, the National Gold development efforts saw to the issuance of the first gold refining license in 2018. 

More so, efforts to curb illegal mining have been ramped up by the provision of surveillance vehicles for the mines inspectors across the Country and increased inter-agency co-operation. 

The Ministry has also continued on its journey to transform its processes by digitizing some of its key activities. Efforts are ongoing to automate the ministry's activities with the provision of an eGIS web portal and electronic submission of licenses, permits and certificates to improve efficiency and speed-up the processing of transactions.

What is your vision for this sector?
My vision for the sector is one that is profitable to all stakeholders and in which the Nigerian people are able to enjoy the maximum benefits possible for these natural endowments.  I am quite optimistic that if we maintain the momentum and make the right choices, the solid minerals sector can contribute up to 3% of GDP by 2025 as predicted in the current roadmap, up from a current contribution of just about 0.5%. 

This has become even more critical in the light of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) Agreement coming into force. The fixation on extraction and exporting of raw minerals and ores at the expense of value addition is a big disservice especially as we continue to depend on importation of finished products. This is further exacerbated by other African countries potentially taking advantage of the AfCFTA to invade our economy. We must assess how competitive Nigeria will be against other more developed mining territories on the continent.

How important is the Nigeria Mining Week as a meeting place for the sector?
The Nigeria Mining Week opens the door to an exclusive networking opportunity for key stakeholders in the sector including policy makers, investors, mining operators, finance houses and multilateral investors as well as technology solution providers who are seeking a new market and new clients for mineral exploration and extraction. The deliberations center around the needs and opportunities of the sector with recommendations made that the policy makers are happy to take on and implement. It is thus a very important, perhaps the most important meeting place for stakeholders in the sector in Nigeria. 

What will be PwC’s message at the event this year?
We recently put out a paper in which we shared our thoughts for the sector going forward. We look forward to continuity in the implementation of the roadmap by the new ministers albeit with adjustments and enhancements made to certain aspects, to ensure the targets that have been set therein, are met. 

For us at PwC, our commitment to supporting stakeholders, both in the public and private sectors, unlock the potential and derive value from the sector is unflinching. We understand that to achieve progress, there must be close collaboration amongst key stakeholders and we believe the Nigeria mining week is an excellent platform for driving this.


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