• Suzana Ezzi

Why is Africa impoverished despite its abundant natural resources?

Africa, the world's second-largest continent, produces the majority of the world's natural resources and minerals, including diamonds, gold, uranium, nickel, cobalt, platinum, and a variety of other metals. However, it is a well-known truth that the majority, if not all, of its countries, are impoverished and malnourished, with Africans accounting for around 70% of the world's destitute. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) releases an annual report on the world's ten poorest nations, based on the number of people in each age group whose income is less than half that of the country's median family income. Not unexpectedly, the top nine countries on the list for 2021 were all African, with South Sudan being the poorest country on the planet! As a result, it's understandable to ask why countries that generate more precious resources than virtually any other country are among the world's poorest.

Many factors may be at play in the current terrible scenario, some of which may not yet be known. The contemporary world's colonialism is one of the primary reasons for Africa's underdevelopment. Stronger nations are asserting their dominance over Africa, imposing strict control over numerous policies and decisions. This dominance has a significant negative impact on the economy since Africa is forced to rely on many imported commodities (which it cannot often afford) while having some of the world's most precious resources on its soil.

Not only are other nations stealing Africa's riches, but Africa is also often exploited in unlawful and immoral ways. Many people think that underreported output, over-reported expenses, tax evasion, and illicit commerce are wreaking havoc on African resources. Diamonds worth USD 15 billion were said to be missing from Zimbabwe before its former Prime Minister refuted these accusations. [5] Despite this, similar disagreements persist in the diamond industry, giving birth to the term "blood diamonds" in the 1990s. The phrase refers to diamonds mined in war zones and controlled by illegitimate forces, as defined by the United Nations. The proceeds from the sale or smuggling of blood diamonds were used to support rebels and military activities against the government. The Kimberly Process was developed in 2003 as an obligatory certification method for all diamond transactions to verify the diamond source in order to minimize these activities.

Nonetheless, without assistance, the African populace is sadly not entirely capable of opposing foreign domination. Education is widely recognized as one of the most crucial cornerstones of a prosperous society. It might be a way to reduce Africa's high rates of crime, sexual assault, and robbery. Individuals with higher education can get better-paying employment, establish local businesses, and have more opportunities. More local entrepreneurs and investors can help the economy grow in a variety of ways, including taking over foreign enterprises in the country. This can only be done if more Africans have higher levels of literacy, education, and abilities to compete in the modern world.

However, it is equally critical to promote knowledge about what effective measures may be implemented to help African countries alleviate their problems. The government must intensify its efforts to properly regulate the mining industry and impose strong penalties for illicit trade practices and human rights breaches. The proceeds should be used to offer everyone in the country better access to educational services, healthcare, and clean water. Africa is not impoverished; it is mismanaged.


[1] https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/africa-resources/

[2] https://www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2019/03/28/poverty-in-africa-is-now-falling-but-not-fast-enough/

[3] https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/poverty-rate-by-country

[4] https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/263dcfdb91c64e8bba02530fdebe7425

[5] https://afroeuro.org/magazine/why-africa-is-poor-despite-having-the-most-diamonds/

[6] https://www.britannica.com/topic/blood-diamond