Working Paper
Extractive dependency in lower-income countries

Evolving trends during the transition to a low carbon future

The first objective of this paper is to update earlier assessments of mineral dependence in lower-income countries. In 2018, the mining of metals and coal continued to be an important contributor to the economies of several low- and middle-income countries. As in our previous calculations of the Mining Contribution Index, African countries in particular benefit from this fact. When oil and gas are also included in estimates of export dependence on extractive industries, a number of new countries appear among those with the greatest dependence—again mostly African countries.

The second objective of this paper is to analyse the opportunities for developing countries of the present global transition to a world less dependent on fossil fuels. This process, it can be argued, is partly a transition from hydrocarbons to metals. Hence, countries with reserves of metals and minerals necessary for the low-carbon future, and in particular those with an existing mining industry, will be best positioned to take advantage of this transition. In this category are several African countries, including Burkina Faso, Côte D’Ivoire, DRC, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In Asia there are Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea, and Philippines, while in South America Bolivia is the only country.