Natural Resources and African Economies: Turning Liability to Asset

  • Angela Gapa
Part of the Palgrave Handbooks in IPE book series (PHIPE)


There is a paradoxical relationship between Africa’s development and its natural resources. On the one hand, natural resources have signified Africa’s place in the global capitalist order and its strategic importance in world politics. Most foreign direct investments in African economies stem from oil and mineral multinationals, and many economies are dominated by resource-reliant primary industries such as mining, agriculture and ecotourism. On the other hand, natural resources are also the continent’s main hindrance to economic development. Many conflicts in the region are fought over non-renewable natural resources, many resource-rich countries have elites who pursue “spoils politics”, rent-seeking, state capture and self-enrichment, thus strengthening authoritarianism; and most countries are likely to remain dependent on their extractive industries for decades to come. This chapter surveys the political economy of natural resources in Africa and maps out the opportunities and challenges presented by the abundance of natural resources in African states.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Gapa
    • 1
  1. 1.Program in International Relations, Department of Political ScienceCalifornia State UniversityChicoUSA

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