From Bottom Billion to Top Trillion: Using Commodity-Backed Securities to Support the Future of Africa’s Resource Economies

By: Vera Songwe. Nonresident Senior Fellow, Africa Growth Initiative, Brookings Institution. April 17, 2013.

The surge in mineral discoveries in Africa provides a vehicle through which countries can transform their economies at a faster pace. The use of commodity-backed securities to raise to fuel growth and create jobs is within reach. It is estimated that Africa is home to 30 percent of known global mineral resources, and, for some commodities (particularly, uranium, platinum, diamonds and gold), Africa’s share is more than 50 percent. These numbers are projected to increase over time. Increasingly, hitherto non-resource rich countries are becoming resource rich. Senegal’s top export commodity in 2012, for example, was gold. Mineral exports as a share of GDP in Senegal doubled over the last decade from 3.1 percent in 2000 to 6.3 percent in 2012. In a few years, Senegal, like many other African countries, is hoping to become part of a much talked about set of countries in the region—the commodity or resource-rich countries. Similarly, coal production in Mozambique’s Tete province is projected to reach 100 million metric tons in a decade, resulting in an additional $2 billion of fiscal revenues by 2020. Iron ore mining in Sierra Leone and Mauritania is expected to boost their GDP growth by over 25 percent by 2020.

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