Namibia is No Longer Mining Black Ownership?

  • Current laws require a Namibian person to own at least 5% of a mining company
  • Angola and Zimbabwe are also looking into easing mining investment rules

Namibia is known for its rich resources of diamonds, uranium and platinum which attract global investors. The country has tried to protect black ownership in the mining sector. Current laws require a Namibian person to own at least five percent of a company, or requires a business to be wholly owned by Namibians. Is doing away with black ownership rules the right move to entice more commodity investors?

Why This Matters: Under the current policy, there must be a minimum 20% representation of historically disadvantaged, or black Namibians, in the management structure of a company that applies for an exploration license. “I am not going to withdraw them (black ownership requirements) unilaterally, obviously we first have to discuss and see if they are really serving the purpose of why they exist. If the answer is, they don’t, then maybe we should change,” Mines Minister Tom Alweendo told Reuters.

Namibia isn’t alone in this ‘investor attraction’ line of thought, Angola and Zimbabwe are also trying to kickstart their mining sectors by easing investment rules. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, African countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo are embracing resource nationalism and hiking taxes and royalties.

What’s Next: South Africa’s mines minister plans to appeal a court ruling that stated mining companies did not have to maintain black ownership targets in perpetuity. As the world’s top platinum producer this now adds an extra layer of policy uncertainty for black people in Namibia to try and retain their ownership rights.

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