Africa´s interest and the new scramble for her resources

April 10, 2008
Dr. Paul Fokam

Speech by Dr K. Paul Fokam, at the Expert Roundtable “Resource Governance in Africa in the 21st century”, Berlin, March 26-28, 2007

» You can download the complete speech (pdf, 9 pages, 43,1 KB) here.


From 1884 to 1885, the major European powers met in Berlin to decide over the partition of Africa in order to avoid clashes in their rush for the continent’s resources. Soon after the end of colonialism in most African countries during the cold war, the continent became a theatre of conflicts and bloody struggles because of its strategic position and richness in strategic resources. During these periods, Africa’s natural resources were exploited without reserve. The benefits of the exploitation for Africa are mixed.

Since the early 1990s, a new interest in Africa has been building up. There is a new struggle for positioning on the continent. The rivalry is mostly between the Western developed countries and emerging countries, especially China and India. While Western powers are striving hard to consolidate and expand their grip on the continent’s natural resources, emerging countries are resolutely striving to gain grounds in the same sector. 

This new rush will certainly put a greater strain on Africa’s resources. It is therefore timely and necessary to reflect on means and ways to protect the continent’s interest in this new context.

We have chosen to proceed through a series of questions which necessarily lead us to proposals on how Africa can henceforth catch up on the rest of the world and play a crucial role in global progress through its vast natural and, most especially, energy resources.

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Why is Africa so attractive?
  3. How much has Africa gained from the exploitation of her resources?
  4. Why has Africa benefited little from the extraction of her resources?
  5. Can Africa Refuse the Exploitation of her resources?
  6. How can Africa benefit perpetually from the exploitation of her resources?
  7. Must the interests of the emerging powers be taken into consideration?
  8. How can existing initiative for sustainable resource governance be strengthened?