Across the African continent, governments are moving to raise taxes and restructure ownership agreements. The Guinean government is currently reviewing mining contracts and in Mozambique, warring political parties are stirring up nationalist rhetoric.
"In East Africa, many countries are reworking legislation governing their natural resources, and in some cases it is resulting in an increased fiscal burden for companies," Erik Lambert, an analyst at Maplecroft, told CNBC.
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"This is largely a response to increasing exploration and extraction of natural resources, in addition to a growing demand by governments to secure greater benefits from natural resource wealth to improve livelihoods and placate voters."
Resource nationalism is strongly linked to a country's political environment and is likely to feature in a number of emerging market elections this year, according to Maplecroft. South Africa is holding parliamentary elections, Brazil has presidential elections and Indonesia will have both.
South Africa's elections come as a debate over its mining sector — focused on gold, diamonds and platinum — is raging. Many ordinary South Africans have seen little benefit from the sector's boom, and uncertainty over its future is holding back investment and stunting growth.
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"Companies need to ensure they understand the priorities for local development," Lambert told CNBC by telephone. Aligning business operations with local socio-economic needs will help alleviate tension by ensuring a better return for the government, and hopefully the local population.
"That's the takeaway for investors. Conflicts with governments will not disappear because prices have fallen. Governments will continue to look to get a good deal, and where they feel they're not getting that …they may act on this," Kooroshy told CNBC.