If Africa has such an abundance of mineral resources, why are Africans so poor?

If Africa has such an abundance of mineral resources, why are Africans so poor?
If Africa has such an abundance of mineral resources, why are Africans so poor?

Africa-Press – Rwanda. If Africa is blessed with such abundant natural resources, why is the continent so poor?

That is the age old question.

Analysts say that alleged corruption and poor leadership on the continent are to blame for the lack of development of African countries and the abuse and mismanagement of the continents natural resources.

Other factors include poor institutions and cross-border conflicts, which compound poverty and underdevelopment of Africa.

South Africa’s coal sales to Europe have surged following an increase in demand for fossil fuel amid sanctions on Russia due to the global energy crisis.

According to Al Jazeera, in 2019 Africa produced almost 1 billion tons of minerals worth a whopping $406 billion (about R7.3 trillion).

The African Natural Resources Center (ANRC), which is a non-lending entity established by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to boost the capacity of African policy makers to manage natural resources, says there are significant obstacles preventing African countries from realising the potential of its abundance of resources which ultimately contribute to growing poverty and inequality.

Challenges include:

– Sustainable development and governance challenges.

– Environmental problems, desertification, resources conservation, climate change.

– The displacement of communities from traditional lands.

– A lack of clear national policy directions.

– Poor investment decisions and revenue management.

– Weak institutions lead to poor border controls, a lack of human security, a drop in investment, poor policy choices as well as a decline in biodiversity and formal trade.

According to Statista, Libya was the richest country in oil in Africa as of 2021, accumulating 48.4 billion barrels of proved reserves.

The German company specialising in market and consumer data reports that Nigeria followed with reserves of 36.9 billion barrels of crude oil, while Algeria’s reserves summed up to 12.2 billion barrels.

Total crude oil reserves in Africa stood at 125.3 billion barrels in 2021.

According to National Geographic, metals exported by African countries include uranium, used to produce nuclear energy; platinum, used in jewellery and industrial applications; nickel, used in stainless steel, magnets, coins, and rechargeable batteries; bauxite, a main aluminium ore; and cobalt, used in colour pigments, to name a few.

According to Statista, South Africa produced nearly 300 million metric tons of minerals in 2020, the highest amount in Africa.

Nigeria and Algeria followed as leading mineral producers on the continent, each recording around 130 million metric tons in mineral output that year, said a 2020 Statista report.

National Geographic states that Africa’s two most profitable mineral resources are gold and diamonds.

The publication reports that in 2008, Africa produced about 483 tons of gold, or 22 percent of the world’s total production.

South Africa, which reported a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) worth 419.95 billion US dollars in 2021, according to official data from the World Bank, accounts for almost half of Africa’s gold production. Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Tanzania are other major producers of gold.

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