Exploitation of African Resources
By Omar Rais

May 06, 2007
Before you get into the depths of this article, let me ask you to try this little activity. On a piece of paper write down Africa and write down as many words/statements/sentences as you think of for 2 minutes………………………Well you must be done by now so let’s move on to the next step. Tally up all the positive things you wrote and all the negative things you wrote. I’m gonna take a “wild” guess and say that most of the things you wrote were negative. Well I can’t blame you because it’s true. When people hear the word Africa they think of all the negative things. If right now you’re thinking that I wrote this article to make you see more positive things about Africa then I’m terribly sorry I must ask you to press “Back”.
I’m actually writing this article to add yet another problem in Africa, and that is the exploitation of their resources. We all know that each country has its own resources, and the country relies on them to make money in the global market. Each country has resources that are different or similar to other countries’ resources. Canada supplies more than 50% of the world with wheat, and also has a vast supply of fish. Resources can be classified as either renewable or non-renewable resources. The names are pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re a dimwit like me then let me break it down for you. Renewable resources are those that can be used and produced more of. For example, wood comes from trees and trees can be replanted. Non-renewable resources are those that after they are consumed can not be easily or not produced at all. For example, coal is a result of thousands of year’s worth of sediment layers and as long as someone lives, they will not be able to produce more coal.
African countries are floating with both kinds of resources, but it’s too bad that they aren’t given a fair price for them when sold. Rubber, cocoa, diamonds, gold, rice and coal are few of the many resources in African possession. Many international companies buy African resources for extremely cheap and unfair price. Farmers in Africa produce cocoa which is the key ingredient for making chocolate. Companies buy this cocoa for a few dollars which help only a little meanwhile the company rolls in millions after they sell their chocolate. Some of you may have heard of the term “fair trade”, which means that farmers get the right price for the products they sell, but actually it’s misguiding. Companies claim that they are doing fair trade as compared to other countries, but they are only paying a few cents more than the other companies that buy cocoa. So is it really “fair trade”?
Corruption of diamonds has been another issue under the exploitation of African resources. During the civil war in Sierra Leone, mining diamonds and then selling them was a great way to finance the war. The rebel groups of RUF (Revolutionary United Front) would abduct villagers and use them to mine the diamonds by the river banks. Smuggling diamonds across borders was a problem too. In 1999, Liberia exported millions of dollars worth of diamonds internationally, which were smuggled across the border from Sierra Leone. Selling diamonds was a huge business where a lot of money lay. International diamond companies would buy clean diamonds and blood diamonds (diamonds mined in a war zone). The businesses would tell the customers that there’s a low supply. Meanwhile, they would store millions of diamonds in an underground vault. They kept the demand high with the price sky rocketing. Eventually these businesses shut down after they were caught by the government.
African resources should not be exploited. Africa is a poor continent and we should help them develop and give a fair price for their resources and I don’t mean the ‘fair’ price. How would you feel if your employer paid you a fraction of what you were owed?


Blood Diamond. Dir. Edward Zwick. Perf. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly and Djimon Hounsou. DVD. Warner Brothers, 2006.

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