Impact of COVID-19 on mining case studies of four African countries

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many economies worldwide. It had diverse impacts on the African mining sector. This paper documents its impact by focusing on four major mineral-rich African countries: Ghana, Mali, South Africa and Zambia. An assessment of the impact of the pandemic on production, employment and government revenues in the selected countries is analysed in the paper. The effects of the pandemic created both supply and demand shocks, resulting in an overall decrease in most mineral prices (with the exception of precious metals such as gold). The situation persisted for much of 2020, with most prices mostly recovering only in 2021. It is also instructive to note that the pandemic is still on-going, thus the analysis is limited to the first quarter of 2021. In addition to reduced direct, indirect and induced employment in the mining sector, the pandemic shocks resulted in a decline in overall mining output across the four countries. This reduction was despite the positive effect on the price of gold. Mining revenues for the four countries also fell due to falling commodity prices and mining output. The paper provides some policy recommendations to ensure that the sector becomes resilient to possible future shocks of this nature.