Africa’s Extraction and Export of Raw Materials is Rising

The findings of a new study that calculates sub-Saharan Africa’s raw material footprint over the past two decades, shows that production and consumption levels nearly doubled between 1995 and 2015. Africa is a net exporter of raw material footprints across all material categories – biomass, construction materials, fossil fuels, and ores. Raw material equivalents of exports referred to as raw material footprints embodied in Africa’s exports of goods and services to the rest of world increased by 53%, from 1.95 gigatonnes in 1995 to 2.98 gigtonnes in 2015. The raw material footprint in African exports increased for almost all African countries. Countries such as South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, Angola, and Ethiopia saw the highest growth in raw material equivalents of exports over the period. These soaring levels of raw material equivalent of exports reveal the strong connection between raw material extraction and growth strategies of African countries.