Knowledge to Unleash Abundance in Africa’s Natural Resource Sector
23 May 2023
Imagine being abandoned in an ocean of infinite bounty with no ship in sight, no compass to guide or steer, and being hungry but unable to consume the ocean's vast supply of fish and infinite goods. In many ways, Africa is a vast expanse and horizons of endless resources, a continent of contrasts - fertile ecosystems teeming with life and arid deserts, co-existing alongside one another.
Africa's natural resources are a rich ball of interwoven golden threads, with each thread representing the region's complex array of resource endowments, which are the essence of Africa's growth potential. However, these threads are equally fragile and susceptible to breaking under stress. Shaping these resources – extracting goods and services – is a delicate balancing act, involving the management of current vulnerabilities against a set of odds and potential futures that are both primed for opportunity and uncertain, verging on risky. Numerous scholars from far and wide have examined Africa's natural resources with careful consideration, allowing for a variety of interpretations, while pointing out the paradox of infinite resources that are still discussed in proverbial parables and are insuciently actualized.
Nevertheless, Africa is the continent to watch – a continent with a projected population of close to 2.5 billion people by 2050 in a region struggling to overcome numerous development challenges, including food, energy, water security, and the big one, climate change and resource depletion, where ambitions to mitigate and adapt to climate impacts are not matched by resources in terms of technology, capacity, or finance.