Humans have recognized the importance of the environment to our survival for millions of years. We use water, soil, minerals, metals, timber, and other natural resources in every aspect of our lives.
Africa is a major source of some of the world’s most utilized minerals and precious metals, such as gold, copper, diamonds, and coltan (used in computer chips and electronics), as well as oil, natural gas, timber, and coal.
The management and sustainable usage of these resources has been a struggle for the African continent, and control over this environmental wealth has in part propagated and funded civil wars, government corruption, and industrial exploitation.
Africa’s richness in natural resources is undeniable—mine this wealth with the resources below.
Photograph of gold miners in Gabon’s Minkebe Forest by Michael Nichols/National Geographic Image Collection.
Test Your Africa IQ with our interactive quiz on Google Earth.
MORE ABOUT AFRICA’S NATURAL RESOURCES
Africa’s Natural Resources at Risk (World Wildlife Fund)
Africa’s Regions (PBS)
African Diamond Council
Africa’s Diamond Wars (New York Times)
Conflict Diamonds (U.N.)
A Diamond’s Deep History (PBS)
Diamonds: The Real Story (National Geographic magazine)
African Forests (Greenpeace)
Illegal Logging in Africa (World Wildlife Fund)
African Oil: Whose Bonanza? (National Geographic magazine)
Oil in Africa (The Boston Globe)
Africa: Water, Water Everywhere (Inter Press Service News Agency)
Photojournal: Getting Water in Africa (BBC)
Water in Africa (Peace Corps)
Gold of Africa Museum
Africa’s Natural Resources (Michigan State University)
Water in Africa Lessons (Peace Corps)
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