Africa is the second biggest continent in the world, and it’s known for the world’s biggest things. Africa is blessed with lots of resources including agricultural produce. Some of the products Africa is known for globally include:
1. AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE
Agriculture is the most important economic contributing activity in Africa, and has also given Africa a place in the world, when it comes to exporting agricultural products.
i. Cereals and grains: Africa produces principal grains, such as rice, millet, teff, sorghum, and wheat. Africa’s most widespread staple is known to be maize, which is also known as corn and is grown in virtually all zones. Millet on the other hand is highly nutritious and provided far more to the African food economy than maize during its early discovery.
ii. Legumes: The major grain legumes in Africa are chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), faba bean (Vicia faba L.), groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.), pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.), and soybean. These potential crops can survive in different soil and climatic conditions of Africa, even in low nutrient soil. Peanuts (groundnuts) are grown widely in western Africa, for export and domestic consumption.
iii. Vegetables and Fruit: Africa is known for producing quite a several vegetables, like, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, okra, eggplants, and cabbages. Tomatoes and onions are commonly grown in huge amounts. The major beverage crops grown in Africa are tea, coffee, cocoa, and grapes.
iv. Tuber crops: Tubers are a family of root vegetables that are grown underground. Examples are cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz), yam (Dioscorea spp.), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.), and potato (Solanum spp.) and edible aroids (Colocasia spp. and Xanthosoma sagittifolium). Tuber crops are grown extensively and eaten as subsistence staples in most parts of Africa.
v. Fibres and Cotton: Large areas of Africa grow cotton for textile manufacturing. The principal textile-producing countries include Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Egypt, Zimbabwe, and Mali. Sisal production occurs in eastern African countries of Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, and Madagascar, as well as in Mozambique, Angola, and South Africa.
vi. Cash crops: The oil palm or palm kernels are widely grown in tropical forest zones. There are large plantations of oil palm in Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Coconuts are also grown in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Tanzania. The forested regions of Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Liberia principally grow kola nuts. Cashew is grown to a limited amount in East Africa and western Africa. Rubber is produced principally in Nigeria and Liberia. Tobacco is cultivated extensively as an export crop in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Nigeria, and South Africa. Countries such as Egypt, South Africa, Mauritius and Sudan produce sugarcane largely for domestic consumption.
vii. Livestock and fishing: Cattle, sheep, and goats form the broad quantity of livestock raised in Africa. Most of these animals are raised essentially for animal protein. Sheep in the north and south are kept for their fiber or wool. It is estimated that the annual output of hides is in the range of 10% of the total population of cattle, while that of sheep-skins and goat-skins is about 25%. Production of milk and its products is insufficient to meet domestic needs except in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. However, poultry production has increased tremendously, and everywhere stocks have nearly doubled since the 1960s.The countries with the largest poultry stocks are Nigeria, Ethiopia, Morocco, South Africa, and Sudan.
Reliance on intra-African imports is comparatively higher for beer (44%) and soft drinks (39%) than for spirits (14%). Mozambique, Lesotho, Namibia, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Mauritius, Tunisia Benin, Mali and Ghana are major importers in the region.
Beverage exports in the region are subject to substantial tariffs, considering that most countries within Africa trade with one another at the most-favored-nation rates. In 2014–2016, the median rates for countries in sub-Saharan Africa ranged from 20% to 30%, depending on the tariff heading.
3. METALS AND MINERALS
The surface of Africa is a wealthy source of extractable natural resources, making its mining industry one of the most important among others in the world. Africa makes 30 percent of the world’s mineral reserves, 12 percent of the world’s oil, and 8 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves.
Africa’s reserve of metals and minerals includes gold, diamond, cobalt, bauxite, iron ore, coal, and copper across the continent. Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, and Democratic Republic of Congo are major mining countries in Africa. South Africa is the country with the largest production of gold, platinum group metals, chrome ore, and manganese ore, and the second-largest reserves of zirconium, vanadium, and titanium and Mali.
a. Gold: According to the Statistics of South Africa, South Africa’s annual gold production in 2012 was close to 220 tonnes, which is a level of gold production not seen since 1922. South Africa produced more than 1,000 tonnes of gold 40 years ago and went on to become the largest producer of gold in the world two decades ago.
b. Diamonds: The diamond industry continued to improve with an estimated 75% of cut diamonds destined for North America, Japan, and Europe. The growth in these regions has driven up demand, together with higher demand in China and India. Leading producers by value are Botswana (27%), Russia (19%), Canada (18%), and South Africa (12%).
4. OIL AND PETROLEUM
Africa is home to select deposits of oil and natural gas, which are drilled for energy and fuel. In 2007, Africa produced 12.5 percent of the world’s total oil production and 6.45 percent of the world’s total natural gas production. Nigeria. Africa has experienced a massive increase in oil exploration while many countries look forward to becoming producers. This oil discovery has increased the importance of the commodity to African economies. The two main oil producers in Africa are Nigeria and Sudan. Libya, Algeria, Egypt, and Angola also dominate Africa’s oil industry. Together they account for 85% of the continent’s oil production and are, in order, from highest to lowest output: Other African oil-producing countries are Gabon, the DRC, Cameroon, Tunisia, The Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Ghana recently.
5. NATURAL GAS
Almost half of the 55 countries in Africa have natural gas resources and reserves, with over 620 trillion cubic feet in 2021. 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves is housed in Nigeria thereby making it the largest reserves in the continent. Moreso, almost half of the continent’s total gas reserves is located in North Africa, with Algeria having 159 trillion cubic feet. The prediction is that the production of natural gas in the continent will expand by 80% by 2035, contributing to rising Gross Domestic Profit (GDP), the emergence of middle-class consumers, and increased market value. Africa may play a more active role in the supply chain of natural gas as the demand increases in the global space.