01/08/2022 - 12:07

Moyo sets sombre tone for Diggers

01/08/2022 - 12:07

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Economist Dambisa Moyo has delivered a sobering keynote address to the Diggers & Dealers mining forum in Kalgoorlie, foreshadowing a period of low and slow global economic growth.

Moyo sets sombre tone for Diggers
Dambisa Moyo delivered the keynote address for the 31st annual Diggers and Dealers Mining Form. Creator: Helen Jones Photography

Economist Dambisa Moyo has delivered a sobering keynote address to the Diggers & Dealers mining forum in Kalgoorlie, foreshadowing a period of low and slow global economic growth. 

The economist delivered a virtual keynote address for the 31st Diggers & Dealers forum, which has attracted 2,620 attendees to Australia’s self-appointed gold capital.

Dr Moyo addressed a cohort of mining executives-from established operators to aspiring producers-brokers, investors and service suppliers, outlining her outlook for the global economy over the next decade. 

Global outlook

Broadly, Dr Moyo pointed to a slowdown in the global economy, which she said had been brewing long before the pandemic began more than two years ago.

“It’s important to remember that even before the pandemic hit in earnest … the global economy was already in a precarious situation,” she said.

Dr Moyo attributed this to multiple factors, including technology’s potential impact on unskilled workers, population growth, social mobility deterioration, natural resource scarcity, environmental concerns and high global debt levels.

She drew comparisons with the global 'gilded age' in the 1870s, to global growth seen between 1950 to 2008, and what that could spell in terms of a slowdown. 

"We are now seeing history repeat itself, in much the same way that we saw the gilded age, our golden age of 1950 to 2008 had very similar hallmarks," Dr Moyo said. 

"Both periods of growth, both periods of large corproations, both periods of massive globalisation.

"Much like we saw in terms of the gilded age, we have also seen our own challenges which have undermined the growth story.

"We have had our financial crsis in 2008, we have had our pandemic that in 2020 we continue to struggle to emerge from.

"Of course, with the advent of the war in Ukraine, we're now witnessing the consequences not just of a ring fenced war but a war that has enourmous global consequenes not just economic, but also geopolitical. 

“We are in for a period of low, slow economic growth in both developed and developing economies. 

“Many economies are contracting, accelerated by the inflationary environmental considerations around the Russian war and difficulties emerging from the pandemic.

"But fundamentally we were already worried aobut slow growth even before these things occurred."

She also forecast a period of de-globalisation that had started to unwind already, both economically and geopolitically, and said anticipated inflationary pressures were likely to remain present in the longer term.

ESG 

Addressing the environmental aspect of the environmental, social and governance (ESG) principle, Dr Mayo said reducing global carbon emissions was not just public policy, but a science problem. 

"The abiltiy to scale and create energy that is cost-effective, affordable and reliable is not an easy task," she said, adding that there were enormous efforts to address the issue.

"We are trying solar, wind, geothermal, hydrogen, nuclear, battery ... there's a whole stack of efforts we are making, bets we are taking in order to try and create energy.

"There is no doubt in my mind, that there is a real commitment from business and from public policy, as well as civil society, that we need to transition to a low-carbon future."

But Dr Moyo said there were stark realities that needed to be contended with, pointing to a large portion of the global population that were without access despite our fossil fuel outputs. 

"Already we are consuming 100 million barrels oil every single day, and even at that level on consumption there are still 1.2 billion to 1.5 billion people around the world who have no access to energy, in a clean reliable and affordable way," she said. 

 

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