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Rise in commodity prices fuels Africa’s economic growth

There is an insatiable demand for primary commodities of minerals and natural resources. As China and many of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) economies seek to industrialize and increase their economic output, the demand for mineral resources has increased.

The petroleum producing countries such as Angola and Nigeria have seen their economies grow at unprecedented rates thanks to the demand for mineral wealth. The major player in Africa’s mineral resources in recent years has been China. This has of course not gone down well with many western nations as the bilateral trade between Africa and their former colonial powers has come under threat. Many in the west have accused China of only looking for economic gains instead of also looking at the human rights records of the countries that they operate in. In deed, Sino-African relations have been strengthened in the past few years. While China has had relative success in securing the minerals resources of the continent in recent years, some of the situations have not been so rosy. For instance, in Zambia, riots by mine workers have been rampant owing to poor working conditions.

However, many in the continent are asking that the mineral wealth of the continent also be used to generate wealth in the continent. Mineral resources have been a major cause for civil strife in many countries. This is manly because the local population has seen no improvement in their lives despite the rich resources in their backyard. The rise of militia groups such as the movement for the emancipation of Niger delta easily comes to mind.Additionally; most of the mineral wealth has been used to perpetuate corruption and therefore the rise of the super elites in a sea of poverty.

The minerals in the continent have offered an opportunity for Africa to reengage with the rest of the world in trade and in other matters. Aid has also been looked at from the same breath and one of Africa’s foremost economists, Zambian Dr.Dambisa Moyo, has called for the abolition of aid. Her book, Dead Aid, has been touted by many though criticized by some aid advocates such as Dr.Jeffery Sachs.President Paul Kagame bought the book for all members of her cabinet to encourage them to make the country self sufficient. She was however criticized by former Ghanaian president John Kuffuor for her elitist views which are out of touch with the African reality.

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