Africa has about 12 percent of the world’s oil reserves, 42 percent of its gold, 80 percent to 90 percent of chromium and platinum group metals and 60 percent of its arable land, in addition to vast timber resources.
Africa experienced a commodity boom during the early 2000s which translated into the unprecedented growth that was only disturbed by the onset of the global financial crisis of 2008.
While the continent was able to recover from this global shock by 2010 and rebounded with a strong growth rate of 4.6 percent on average, this boom did not translate into consummate economic diversification that would have led to faster social-economic development for Africans.
In addition, most African economies still rely heavily on commodity production and exports, with minimal value addition and even fewer forward and backward linkages to other sectors of the economy.
The recognition of the challenges and opportunities from Africa’s commodity wealth has been reflected in different decisions by the African Union (AU), including the Arusha Declaration on African Commodities, as well as other frameworks such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the Africa Mining Vision (AMV) and the strategy for the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa (AIDA).
With the adoption of Agenda 2063 as the strategic framework to guide Africa’s inclusive economic growth, the AU undertook to consolidate and guide the development of an Africa-wide commodities strategy that will ensure a more coherent and collaborative process of African states developing, managing and benefiting from their natural resources and collectively positioning the continent to live up to its potential as an economic powerhouse.