Africa, like most continents, is a pastiche of topographies, climates and landscapes; as such, its stores of natural resources are varied. Harsh ecological conditions throughout much of Africa account for the fact that agriculture is often labor intensive and few opportunities exist in many rural areas (Gordon 2-3). Wildlife reserves and the ivory trade are consistently monitored throughout the continent, with mixed results (DeGregori 32-35). In many respects, it is AfricaÆs mineral and fuel stores that are of value to the rest of the world. Exploring Africa region-by-region will render a reliable natural resources catalogue and create an overall impression of the continent.
Each of the 59 nation states comprising Africa contains natural resources of some value to the world. Diamonds, however, are AfricaÆs most luxurious and high-profile natural resource. Many states in Africa contain diamond stores: Botswana, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Guinea, The Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Liberia, Angola, Cote dÆIvoire, and Lesotho each produce diamonds. Diamonds are the hardest known naturally occurring material, and possess optical properties, electrical properties, and thermal properties in addition to their aesthetic appeal (Nationmaster.com).
The diamond industry in Africa has been active for many years, most often under a monopoly run by the DeBeers Company (at one time it was estimated that over 80% of the worldÆs rough diamondsù many retrieved from Africaù passed through a subsidiary of DeBeers, the Diamond Trading Company). Most of the worldÆs diamond deposits are in Africa, and in some African countries (most notably South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, the Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone) revolutionary groups have forcibly overrun diamond mines in the interest of financing insurgency operations (Nationmaster.com).
Other ores and minerals also abound...