Natural resources are materials from the Earth that support life and meet people’s wants.
From Natural resources point of view, Africa is undoubtedly the richest continent on planet earth. Therefore the continent is abundant in natural resources and these natural resources include arable land, forests, water, oil, natural gas, minerals and wildlife.
According to the United Nation, Africa is a home to 30% of the world’s natural resources and it holds both renewables and non-renewables. The continent is a home to 8% of the world’s natural Gas and it also holds 12% of the world’s oil reserves. It also holds 40 % of the world’s Gold and close to 90% of the world’s platinum and chromium. Africa also holds the largest reserves of platinum, cobalt, diamonds and uranium in the world. 65% of worlds arable land is in this continent and ten percent of the world’s fresh water.
70% of the inhabitants in the sub-Saharan part of Africa rely on forests and woodland as their source of livelihood.
Let’s take a look at some natural resources in Africa:
OIL AND NATURAL GAS
Africa is home to deposits of oil and natural gas, which are drilled for energy and fuel. The continent accounts for the production of 12.5 % of the world’s total oil produces and 6.45 % of the world’s total natural gas product in 2007. Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, and Angola dominate Africa’s oil production. oil production has significantly increased on the continent, and numerous countries are looking towards becoming oil producers.
In 2020, Africa reckoned for roughly eight percent of the global oil production affair. Nearly 330 million metric tons of oil products were produced on the continent at that same time. The region generated 6.9 million barrels per day, the smallest product position since 2000. Yet, oil production remains a primary motorist for the frugality in producing countries, and its vast reserves may launch other African nations as new directors. The hydrocarbon sector has also shown its eventuality regarding natural gas, reserves of which exceed 600 trillion boxy measures.
Forestry, the operation of trees and other foliage in timbers, is an important profitable exertion in Africa. On average, timber products regard for 6 % of Africa’s gross domestic product( GDP), further than any other continent. This is a result of Africa’s abundant timber cover, with 0.8 hectares( 2 acres) per person, compared with0.6 hectares(1.5 acres) encyclopedically. In central and western Africa, where timber cover is heaviest, the timber sector contributes further than 60 percent of GDP.
The import of timber products, especially high- grade forestland like mahogany and okoume, brings in significant profit. These forestland are substantially set up in the countries of the Congo Basin — Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea — where there’s a thick rain timber. Okoume, for illustration, accounts for 90 percent of the trees logged in Gabon. These forestland are generally exported to Japan, Israel, and the European Union. Mahogany and okoume are used to make everything from homes to musical instruments to featherlight aircraft.
Do you know that the electronics we used today is based on some mineral resources which are in Africa? These are aluminium and zinc. Mined and semi-processed materials are used in making more than half components of mobile phones. These components are battery, speaker, its electronics and display. Lithium and cobalt are some of the crucial minerals used to produce batteries. In 2019, about 63 percent of the world’s cobalt product came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Tantalum is another essence used in electronic outfit. Tantalum capacitors are set up in mobile phones, laptops and in a variety of automotive electronics. The DRC and Rwanda are the world’s largest producers of tantalum. Together they produce half of the world’s tantalum.
Gold and diamonds are Africa’s two most profitable mineral resources. In 2008, Africa produced about 483 tons of gold, or 22 percent of the world’s total product. South Africa accounts for nearly half of Africa’s gold product. Ghana, Guinea, Mali, and Tanzania are other major directors of gold.
Africa dominates the global diamond request. In 2008, the continent produced 55 percent of the world’s diamonds. Botswana, Angola, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Namibia are Africa’s largest producers of diamonds.
The Driefontein Gold Mine outside of Johannesburg, South Africa, is one of the largest gold mines in the world. The mine is made up of eight shafts that reach depths of over to 3,352 measures (1,000 bases) underground. One of the shafts is in the process of being strengthened to about 4,115 measures ( 13,500 bases) making it the deepest mine in the world. These extreme depths make mining operations incredibly dangerous at Driefontein, which has one of the worst records of hand losses in the industry.
Every year, South Africa produces over 250 million tonnes of coal and 75% of this coal is estimated to be used domestically. The coal produced in South Africa take care of almost 80% of the energy needs in South Africa and South Africa produce over 90% of the coal consumed on the entire African continent . Ecca deposits, a vein of the Karoo Supergroup in South Africa is the biggest coal deposits.
The amount of dollars Africa attracts measures Africa’s mineral exploration intensity. Fifteen percent of all global exploration capital is taken by Africa, advanced than its per capita annuity. It can not thus be true that the hunt for minerals in Africa, dating from colonial times, when colonial powers stressed this resource and marginalised most others, has been patchy.
Collectively, the continent has a lot to gain in pulling together and employing its vast natural resources to fund the development agenda and it must also ensure that future growth and exploitation of natural resources is sustainable.