Top 5 Sub-Saharan African Countries with the Largest Non-Oil Mineral Reserves

Emmanuel Kwarteng September 15, 2022
Photo: Central Banking

The African undoubtedly is home to a vast chunk of the world’s most sought-after natural resources. These resources have the potential to make the continent the richest in the world if judiciously exploited and utilized.

According to Statista, the mineral fuels, oils, and distillation products that Nigeria exported in 2019 accounted for over 80% of the country’s export value, or over 47 billion US dollars. That is, up to the time of the COVID-19 outbreak and the ensuing global crises, which caused supply and demand to decline.

Nigeria, with a projected GDP of $441 billion for 2021, is the richest nation in Africa.

Due to its oil reserves, some of Africa’s richest countries, like Algeria, Egypt, and Angola, rank among the ten richest countries on the continent. This information makes it simple to believe that oil is the only real source of natural wealth, yet this is far from the case. Other natural resources have the potential to generate enormous wealth for anyone.

There are numerous rich precious materials on the continent, including gold, copper, diamonds, uranium, cobalt, wood, coltan, and coal. The profit margins for these resources need to be widened. Thankfully, a few African nations have already started taking this approach.

Below are the top five countries with the highest non-oil mineral reserves in sub-saharan Africa, in no particular order;

Democratic Republic of Congo: GDP ($12.52 Billion)

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which lies in Central Africa, is the biggest nation in sub-Saharan Africa and the second-largest nation overall. It boasts of a variety of natural resources, some of which are common throughout the nation. According to estimates, this nation has untapped natural resources worth 28 trillion dollars.

There are 89.56 million people living in this enormous nation. Minerals are abundant in the DRC, primarily cobalt and coltan. It supplies 80% of the world’s coltan, making it the nation with the greatest coltan reserve. The manufacture of tantalum capacitors uses coltan.

Almost every type of electrical gadget, particularly mobile phones, uses tantalum capacitors. The democratic republic also supplies the most cobalt to the globe, with an estimated 120,000 metric tons being produced there every year.

South Africa: GDP ($418.02 Billion)

With a coastline that runs just over 3000 kilometers, South Africa takes up the majority of Africa’s southernmost point. Although industrialization, financial and governmental services, agriculture, and other factors contributed significantly to South Africa’s riches, 10 to 20 percent of its GDP is produced annually by the country’s natural resources.

There are 60.14 million people living there. Mining for materials including platinum, chromium, manganese, gold, diamonds, iron ore, cobalt, and phosphate is one of South Africa’s most substantial industries.

Depending on the year, South Africa makes between $55 billion and $125 billion each year from its mineral wealth. Additionally, the nation dispersed 100 tons of gold in 2021, accounting for 4.2% of the world’s total gold production.

Ghana: GDP ($72.35 Billion)

Ghana, a country in West Africa that borders the Atlantic Ocean, is home to a variety of natural resources, including bauxite, aluminum, diamonds, and timber. The population of Ghana is 31.07 million. Ghana’s prosperity is the result of effective resource management. Ghana is primarily reliant on its gold reserves and arable land out of these resources.

Ghana, which is aptly known as “the gold coast,” is the sole source of gold on the whole African continent. In 2021, Ghana produced about 117 tons of gold. Ghana generated approximately 140 metric tons of gold annually on average before the global pandemic which impacted numerous industries. Ghana earns between $5 to $7.2 billion annually only from gold.

Botswana: GDP ($17.61 Billion)

Botswana is a nation renowned for having stunning wildlife. National parks, reserves, and wildlife management areas occupy 38% of its land. Botswana is a landlocked nation in southern Africa with a population of just over 2 million. It is one of the most peaceful yet affluent nations on the continent.

Like most African nations, Botswana possesses a variety of natural resources, but its main export is diamonds, an extremely valuable natural resource. Diamonds account for over 80% of its exports. In 2021, its diamond exports were worth a total of $3.466 billion. Currently, Botswana is the world’s second-largest diamond producer, after only Russia.

Additionally, the country has abundant coal, nickel, copper, and of course, its arable lands.

Zambia: GDP ($19.32 Billion)

Another country that supports wildlife is the Republic of Zambia, which is situated in southern Africa. This 18.38 million-person nation, which is also landlocked, is mostly recognized for its national parks and the stunning Victoria Falls.

Despite having abundant natural resources, Zambia’s main export is copper. It ranks as the tenth-largest copper producer in the world and the second-largest in Africa, behind only the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This year, 830,000 metric tons of copper have been produced so far. Emerald and cobalt are two other natural minerals found in Zambia. High prices for copper, oil, iron ore, aluminum, and gas will encourage investment and all are contributing to reducing external imbalances, stabilizing currencies, and boosting economic growth. Exports are booming all throughout the continent as a result of rising commodity prices.

Last Edited by:Sedem Ofori Updated: September 15, 2022


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