Natural resources of Africa

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Africa has a large quantity of natural resources, including diamonds, sugar, salt, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, petroleum and cocoa beans, but also woods and tropical fruits. Having a low human density, for a long period of time Africa has been colonized by more dynamic groups, exploiting African resources. Some economists[1] have talked about the 'scourge of raw materials', large quantities of rare raw materials putting Africa under heavy pressures and leading to wars and slow development. Despite these abundance of natural resources, claims suggest that many Western nations like the United States, Canada, Australia, France and the United Kingdom as well as emerging economic powerhouses like China often exploit Africa's natural resources today, causing most of the value and money from the natural resources to go to the West and East Asia rather than Africa, further causing the poverty in Africa.[2] A Guyanese historian, Walter Rodney, posits that foreign ownership of African natural resources is the "most direct way" that rich countries continue to dominate African states without formally colonizing them: "When citizens of Europe own the land and the mines of Africa, this is the most direct way of sucking the African continent."[3]

African oil takes growing importance, mainly after the 2015 oil crisis and recent oil reserves discoveries. Sudan and Nigeria are two of the main oil producers. China owns 40% of Congo's oil production. Oil is provided by both continental and offshore productions. Sudan's oil exports in 2010 are estimated by the United States Department of State at $9 billion with United States dollars.[4]

Five countries dominate Africa's upstream oil production. Together they account for 85% of the continent's oil production and are, in order of decreasing output, Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Angola. Other oil producing countries are Gabon, Congo, Cameroon, Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire and more recently, Ghana. Exploration is taking place in a number of other countries that aim to increase their output or become first time producers. Included in this list are Chad, Sudan, Namibia, South Africa and Madagascar while Mozambique and Tanzania are potential oil producers.[5]

African ores[edit]

Ore resources in Africa are abundant, and extremely more so nowadays as other continents are beginning to face depletion of resources. The copper belt in Katanga, the diamond mines in Sierra Leone, Angola, and Botswana are well known for their abundance and rich produce, albeit, also notorious for their level of corruption and links to rebel movements. The RUF (Revolutionary United Front) and the blood diamonds used to supply these rebel factions with arms is one such example.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jeffrey D. Sachs and Andrew M. Warner, "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," Development Discussion Paper no. 517a (Cambridge: Harvard Institute for International Development, 1995); Ross, M. (2001) 'Does Oil Hinder Democracy,' World Politics, 53(3)
  2. ^ Buncombe, Andrew (17 February 2006) African bio-resources 'exploited by West'. The Independent
  3. ^ Walter,, Rodney,. How Europe underdeveloped Africa. Baltimore. ISBN 9781574780529. OCLC 815651132.
  4. ^ Sudan. U.S. Government
  5. ^ Oil and Gas in Africa – Overview.