Edited by Pauline Dixon, Steve Humble and Chris Counihan
Chapter 22: Why Africa remains poor
Africa’s untapped mineral wealth is immense. It has 40 percent of the world’s potential hydroelectric power supply; the bulk of the world’s diamonds and chromium; 30 percent of the uranium in the non-communist world; 50 percent of the world’s gold; 90 percent of its cobalt; 50 percent of its phosphates; 40 percent of its platinum; 7.5 percent of its coal; 8 percent of its known petroleum reserves; 12 percent of its natural gas; 3 per cent of its iron ore; and millions upon millions of acres of untilled farmland. There is not another continent blessed with such abundance and diversity. (Lamb, 1983; p. 20) Angola, for example, “contains an estimated 11 percent of the world’s known reserves of diamonds. Its diamonds are stunning: at an average price of about $140 a carat, with some reaching $350, they are second in quality only to Namibia’s, and more than 12 times more valuable than Australia’s” (The Economist, September 14, 1996; p. 68). In addition, Africa has 64 percent of the world’s manganese, 13 percent of its copper, and vast bauxite, nickel, and lead resources. It also accounts for 70 percent of cocoa, 60 percent of coffee, 50 percent of palm oil, and 20 percent of the total petroleum traded in the world market, excluding the United States and Russia.
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