Africa is the world’s second largest continent by area (30.37 Million km2). Africa is the site of largest desert (the Sahara Desert), the longest river (the Nile River), more than 3,000 fascinating tribes and cultures, home of largest land living animal, geological wonders, vibrant cities and world’s best tropical beaches. Also, Africa is the richest continent in the world in terms of natural and mineral resources.
The continent of Africa has;
- 30% of the world’s mineral reserves
- Eight per cent of the world’s natural Gas
- 12% of the world’s oil reserves.
- The world’s biggest precious metal reserves on earth.
- 40% of the world’s gold and up to 90 percent of its chromium and platinum.
Moreover, Africa supplies up to 31 percent of the world’s demand for bauxite, cobalt, gold, manganese, phosphate and uranium and 57 percent of the world’s need for chromium and diamonds.
It is estimated that 12% of the oil produced in the world comes from Africa. The oil was formed over a period of more than a million years when fossils decomposed. The countries that lead in oil production in Africa are Nigeria, Libya, Angola, Algeria, and Egypt. These nations accounted for more than 8.7 million barrels of all the oil produced daily in 2014. Nigeria and Libya are ranked among the top ten countries with the largest oil reserves in the world at 48 billion barrels for Libya and 37 billion barrels for Nigeria. Most of the oil produced in Africa is exported to Europe and the United States where it is refined and consumed.
Africa has the richest reserves of precious metals such as gold, cobalt, and platinum. These metal reserves are worth billions of dollars. The continent is home to the leading producer of the highly priced metal – gold. South Africa is Africa’s top gold producing nation. Other African countries that lead in the production of gold include Benin, Morocco, and the Gambia. Cobalt is another precious metal produced mainly in the continent. The commodity is essential in the production of electric cars. Approximately two-thirds of the cobalt in the world are produced in the DRC. Platinum is one of the rarest metals, and it has its largest reserves in South Africa. Platinum is used in making jewelry, electronics, and medical equipment.
Most African countries are endowed with vast natural forests that provide timber. Ten nations belong to the International Tropical Timber Organization.
They include Cameroon, Gabon, Togo, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, DRC, and Ghana. These countries are some of the leading timber producers in the world. Most of the timber produced in Africa is exported to China, England, France and the United States.
Problems Regarding Utilization of Reserves:
Most nations of Africa derive little benefits from the resources. High levels of corruption, lack of policies on wealth management, poor resource allocation, exploitation, and political instability are some of the factors that affect the continent. These problems need to be addressed to enable African nations to benefit from the abundant resources in their hands.
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