The Depopulation and Looting of African Mineral Wealth and Resources

african youth with wheelbarrow
African youth marching

If you’ve ever heard of the term unreported diamonds, there’s a good chance that it was in reference to Africa. However, these unreported diamonds aren’t hidden in the jungles of the continent; instead, they’re estimated to be worth over $2 trillion and are owned by mining companies across the world, many of which are based in the western world. In fact, in 2018, Africa held 40 percent of the world’s gold and up to 90 percent of its chromium and platinum – both valuable metals.

A brief history

Since the late 19th century, the west has been heavily involved in the depopulation and looting of African resources. European countries set up colonies in Africa and claimed ownership of vast tracts of land and resources. They extracted minerals and other resources to fuel their own industrialization while forcibly displacing or even killing indigenous Africans. This process has evolved and continues today, as western companies extract mineral wealth from Africa with little benefit to the continent or its people.

All countries are victimized

There’s no question that countries worldwide are victims of exploitation, whether it’s mineral wealth, resources, or even people. However, when it comes to the depopulation and looting of African resources, it’s hard to ignore the role that Western countries have played. For centuries, Africa has been a target for exploitation by outside forces, and this has had a devastating effect on the continent. Western colonization policies and practices led to the decline in population numbers, which gave way to depleted mineral wealth and limited economic opportunity.

Today, about 60% of the population in Africa is made up of people younger than 25 years old.  Although Africa has the lowest unemployment rate globally on paper among youth ages 15 to 24 (10.6 percent in 2021, according to the International Labor Organization), most of Africa’s youth work informally, and many are underemployed or remain in poverty despite working due to low wages and the lack of a social safety net, making it difficult to compare African countries to more advanced economies.

Does it take place today?

Yes, the depopulation and looting of African mineral wealth and resources is taking place today. The African continent is rich in minerals and natural resources, but due to years of exploitation by Western countries, its people are some of the poorest in the world. Western companies extract Africa’s resources without contributing to the development of the continent or its people. This exploitation has led to environmental degradation, conflict, and poverty. The depopulation and looting of African mineral wealth and resources must stop if the continent is ever to prosper.

What does it look like?

In recent years, the depopulation and looting of African mineral wealth and resources have increased. This is largely due to many western countries exploiting these resources for their own gain. This has led to a decrease in the quality of life for many Africans, as well as an increase in poverty and crime. The situation is only getting worse, as more and more African countries are being targeted by the west and some leaders planted there by interests outside of Africa. These new leaders are not interested in anything but power and money- which means they allow access to African resources without thinking about how it affects the people who live there.

It’s no wonder then that African miners die at three times the rate of Western miners or that they spend much less time extracting minerals before they run out of water or face severe heat exhaustion.

What are the motives of western nations?

There are many possible motives for western nations to depopulate and loot African mineral wealth and resources. One motive could be to gain control over valuable resources that are essential for the development and success of industries in the west. Another motive could be to undermine the economies of African countries, making them reliant on the west for economic assistance. Additionally, the west may want to reduce the population of Africa to make it easier to control politically.  I have thought about this considerably and think that there are many reasons that Africa is being exploited.  I would like to hear what Africans think about the motives behind the West’s interests.

What’s next for Africa and its people?

The future for Africa and its people is uncertain. The west has been depopulating and looting African mineral wealth and resources for centuries, and there is no end in sight. This exploitation has led to the impoverishment of many Africans and has contributed to the conflict and instability in the region. What’s next for Africa? Only time will tell.  What would you like to see in Africa?  Please add your ideas in the comments section below. –MM


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Ubuntu Village will be traveling to Africa soon and we would like to document this trip and any other trips taken in a blog format.