Raw materials are materials in unprocessed or minimally processed states. Raw materials like raw latex, crude oil, cotton, coal, raw biomass, iron ore, air, logs, water or any product of agriculture, forestry, fishing, mineral in its natural form or which has undergone the transformation required to prepare it for international marketing in substantial volumes. Raw materials obtained naturally can be categorised into three based according to where it is derived from;
Plant/tree based- materials like vegetables, fruits, flowers, wood, resin, latex are obtained from plants and trees.
Animal-based materials like leather, meat, bones, milk, wool, silk are all obtained from animals.
Mining based materials like minerals, metals, crude oil, coal etc are obtained by mining the earth.
The African continent is known to be wealthy with many natural resources. According to the United Nations, Africa holds about 30 percent of the world’s mineral reserves, 10 percent of the world’s oil and 8 percent of the world’s natural gas reserves.
Africa has a large quantity of natural resources including diamonds, sugar, salt, gold, cobalt, uranium, copper, bauxite, silver, petroleum and cocoa beans and also tropical fruits and timber.
Here are some raw materials in African countries and their uses regarding the country’s economy. These African countries have massive supply of valuable natural resources and which can exported all over the world.
Rich in uranium, coal, cement and gold, Niger has been home to the largest underground mine in the world especially for uranium extraction. Niger supplies 44% of African uranium all over the world which makes the country one of the richest in this mineral. Niger has benefited quite a lot from selling raw minerals on the world’s market. 40% of all Niger’s exports are from uranium trade which helps increase the national economy. Uranium is useful in production of a nuclear weapon because of its radioactive nature. This is why countries like Korea and China benefit from Niger’s natural resources and their trade with them.
South Africa’s economy has risen in the past couple of decades as a result of its rich mineral industry, most especially the natural resources of precious minerals. South Africa is rich in diamonds and gold. Having large amounts of diamonds and gold deposits in south Africa which contributed greatly to the nations development. According to research, the mineral industry annually adds 20% to the GDP of South Africa and the income per year is approximately 550 billion rand.
Nigeria is known to be the leading producer and exporter of crude oil. It is the fifth oil producing country under the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in the world.
Mozambique is a country with several natural resources but the most common natural mineral in the country is Aluminium. The annual production of it is approximately 580,000 tons, which is a huge number and this forms 30% of the country’s exports.
There are other natural resources exported to other countries all over the world from Mozambique, these include; beryllium and tantalum all over the world. Mozambican soil is rich in limestone, cement, marbles, gemstones, coals, iron, gold, oil, gas, and steel. All of these minerals have made the economy of the country more stable and their production has become really active in the past years.
Guinea – rich in bauxite The important part of Guinea natural potential is bauxite, which the country clearly holds leadership in. Actually, the production of bauxite really contributes to the production of aluminium: bauxite is an important ingredient of aluminium. Guinea is a clear leader in bauxite potential and export, producing 95% of the entire bauxite production of Africa. The country is followed by Mozambique and Ghana respectively. Except for Guinea, which produces the natural ingredient for aluminium, all the other countries use the synthetically made product.
Being the fourth richest country in Africa in terms of gold, Tanzania is also the producer and exporter of the rare gemstone called Tanzanite as the name implies. Throughout the decades, the gold mining industry of Tanzania fluctuated. This was happening until the 90s when some famous foreign companies decided to invest in Tanzanian treasures. Nowadays, they have the standard mines multiplied, to enhance investment and development of their resources. While agriculture is a large contribution to the economy of the country, the gold and tanzanite trade does, too. Mineral exports really help and boost the Tanzanian economic conditions.
Ghana is the second largest producer of gold in Africa. Ghana can owe their successes to establishing more golden mines with modern facilities. There are about 90 enterprises which specialise in gold mining. Ghana exports its gold abroad, and this helps to enhance their economy.
Botswana has huge resources of gem diamonds, which is the main focus of its export. It has become the largest supplier of diamonds, which trades with many countries all over the world.
This country’s economy highly depends on mining, and this is why the mining industry there is in the process of development. Even though the main competitor of the country in the sphere of diamonds is Angola, Botswana still holds a major place among the known diamond producers in Africa. Except for diamonds, the country is also leading in coal production, which in turn is used for the production of synthetic fuels.