By Fidel Amakye Owusu

1. The map below depicts the top ten mineral producing or extracting countries in Africa in 2022. As commodities prices went up, many African countries had their revenues increased.

Image credit: Economic Intelligence Unit

2. Despite increased output and favourable market prices, economies in Africa are among the worst struggling on the globe. For example, despite Ghana being Africa’s number producer of gold in 2020 and 2021 it is currently one of the worst hit economies on the continent.

3. Many reasons have been given to explain this unfortunate happening on the continent. Corruption, nepotism, political instability, unsustainable debt among others have been cited.

4. However, it appears value addition has been a major cause of Africa’s economic woes.

5. How has that fared?

6. For decades the continent has produced and exported tonnes of raw materials with little or no value addition. It has in turn used the revenues from these raw materials to import finished goods that are much more expensive.

7. This has led to trade imbalances and chronic debt problems with their concomitant economic pressure. Ghana, Zambia and many other states are currently taking IMF programs that are likely to bite ordinary citizens. Zambia is a major copper producer.

8. In recent times some countries have made effort to add value to their natural resources. This notwithstanding, much of these resources continue to leave the many ports in their crude forms.

9. Zimbabwe has recently given directives on the need to process its minerals before they are exported. While this is laudable, the policies long term continuity by a country that is still making effort to resuscitate its economy has been questioned. Would Zimbabwe stick to the good policy?

10. Regardless, if Africa want to achieve anything in the 21 century, it must do things differently. Old ways may not achieve new results.

11. Value addition may positively affect employment opportunities, balance of payment, currency stability, inflation and debt sustainability in African economies

12. This would consequently help with mitigating the problem of insecurity as youths get employed and have better living standards.

13. Many more…

By Fidel Amakye Owusu – International Relations and Security Analyst and Writer

Article Reproduced with Permission from Fidel Amakye Owusu

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