Investors are buying President Hakainde Hichelema’s narrative of ‘New Dawn’ change, but remain sceptical about South Africa’s vague promises to break bureaucratic logjams in its mining sector.
In the world of investment, political shifts are monitored as closely as any economic indicator.
At the “Investing in African Mining Indaba” in 2018, the changing political winds in a trio of southern African countries — Angola, Zimbabwe and South Africa — lifted the mood of investors.
Angola’s Jose Eduardo dos Santos and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe had both stepped down, or been forced out, in 2017, and Cyril Ramaphosa had clinched the ANC presidency that year and was on the verge of becoming head of state when the Indaba was held in early February 2018.
The Angolan and Zimbabwean mining ministers launched charm offensives to woo investors at the conference. The hapless Mosebenzi Zwane was still SA’s mines minister but the industry — which simply could not stand the sight of the man — knew the writing was on the wall.
Fast-forward to May 2022, and it was Zambia that stole the show — a performance also driven by political change. Hakainde Hichilema won the presidency last year, defeating the autocratic Edgar Lungu,…