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19.07.2002 Feature Article

The Mismanagement & Abuse Of Africa's Natural Resources

The Mismanagement & Abuse Of Africa's Natural Resources
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The problems of Africa continues to grow and its solution is not clear or well articulated. African leaders continue to depend on foreign countries to solve their problems. Not only that African leaders continue to blame colonialism for the continued ills of Africa. The problem of AIDS has continued unabated and some African leaders just pay lip service to the problem. For all that they do is that they “can talk” and appear to be believable as if they will solve the problems facing Africa based on their rhetoric. Now the problem has sifted from AIDS to famine and poverty. Six to Eight African countries mostly in Southern Africa are facing famine and the extinction over of 80 million Africans within the next ten years according to experts. This writer believes that Africa still, after colonialism, has vast natural resources in each country which when well developed and managed, most of the problems in Africa can be resolved by Africans themselves without resorting to foreign aid, foreign grants and continued foreign loans. Natural Resources are important aspects of a nation’s power. Africa as a whole has vast resources and if well utilized can be a major force in world affairs. Our limited research indicates that access to raw materials is essential to the standard of living and the security of the state, and dependence upon them relates to the technological developments that create demands for them either at home or abroad. Iron and coal (both of which are plentiful in Africa) have long been the basis for industrialization, but increasing technological sophistication is creating new demands for other materials, such as uranium as an energy source, titanium for jet engines, and germanium for transistors. The advanced technologies of such fields as space exploration, medicine, and warfare depend on high levels of industrialization requiring a wide diversity of raw materials.

National power and well-being are directly dependent on the possession and availability of, and capacity to use, raw materials. Our limited research indicates that African leaders are still unaware that the natural resources of each African state is a source of power in international relations. If the argument is that they are aware of this, then the conclusion is that their corruptive tendencies override their national interests of which they are sworn to uphold. The colonization of Africa was based on the exploitation of its natural resources and not because of the love of the people of Africa by the imperialists.
Africa controls the majority of natural resources as compared with other continents. It appears that the creator of the universe gave the continent this advantage over the rest of the world. The colonization of Africa therefore was not by incidence but by a cool and economic calculation by the colonial powers.
The uneven distribution of raw materials around the world is a prime reason for international trade and the development of transportation facilities. It is also, and should be emphasized that the need for secure sources of supply has also been both an historic cause of imperialism and war and a reason for the drive to liberalize trade policies that has occurred since World War II.
Recent and continuing civil wars in Africa, notably, Sierra Leone, Angola, Congo, has been intensified because of its natural resources basically gold and diamonds. The corrupt African leaders and the so-called freedom fighters have benefited by selling these natural resources to the same colonial “masters” that had left as a result of the independence of these countries. During the pre-independence years, these raw materials were taken away without any trouble. As a result of independence they had to resort to corrupting the leaders and ensure that their supplies are not hindered.
The so-called freedom fighters reason that the political leaders of the country are corrupt and have given away the country’s natural resources. They claim that they will be different and have the people share in the benefits of the natural resources. But lord and behold, where do they establish their centers of operations? Nowhere but in the mining areas. Examples are late Savimbi of Angola. In other to appreciate the blessings of Africa with natural resources, the following is the list curled from The World Factbook, 2001.
The World Factbook.

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