In the midst of a major global economic crisis, one asset has consistently beaten the impact of COVID-19: gold.
As investors look for safety from volatile markets and increasing national deficits, gold prices hit an all-time high in August 2020.
This year would seem like an opportune time for the world’s largest gold producers to consolidate their control over this vital natural resource. Alternatively, they could follow the example of Ghana and try to sell off almost all of their rights to future gold royalties in perpetuity.
This is the story of Agyapa Royalties.
Ghana is Africa’s leading producer of gold, accounting for 4 per cent of government revenue in 2017. Well-spent, that means money for public goods and services for the country’s citizens. Who wouldn’t want better-resourced health services or improved education facilities?
Given the sector’s strategic importance, it is beyond curious that Ghana is proposing to sell almost 76 per cent of its future receipts from gold royalties to a special corporate vehicle in the British overseas territory of Jersey – a known tax haven and secrecy jurisdiction.
A mysterious company based in the UK tax haven of Jersey, Agyapa Royalties, has inserted itself into the middle of what looks like a highly unwise financing arrangement, writes Nick Shaxson.
Legal Officer, Transparency International