Africa’s Natural Resources

Gold_mining_1 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.


General Information

  • 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


    Classroom Activity

  • Africa’s Natural Resources (Michigan State University)

    Lesson Plans

  • Eco-Challenges (PBS)
  • Water in Africa Lessons (Peace Corps)

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  • 16 responses to “Africa’s Natural Resources

    1. Thanks Alex! I’m glad that you found “Africa’s Natural Resources” useful; it’s our most popular blog post. We hope you’ll come back for more valuable information to keep the learning going at school AND at home!


    2. This webpage gave more than the number of natural resources I needed,… this website helped soooo sooo soooo much, thanks to whoever took their valuable time to type this information… I LUV THIS PAGE!!!!!!!!!


    3. Cameroon is a country in West Africa. Learn more about Cameroon through National Geographic’s People & Places portal.


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