Working Paper 13: Resource use and resource productivity in Africa

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) recently released the new “Economic Development in Africa Report 2012”. The report focuses on the dilemma of accomplishing much-needed economic growth while protecting the environment. Africa, as a small player on the global stage in terms of total resource extraction and domestic material consumption, has a fast rising resource use which is based on the expansion of material intensive economic sectors.

One of the background papers, on which the UNCTAD report is based on, is the jointly elaborated study from SERI and Monika Dittrich entitled “Resource Use and Resource productivity in Africa”. The UNCTAD report uses a wide range of our results such as data and analyses on domestic material consumption per capita, which decreased from 5.6 tonnes per capita in 1980 to 5.3 tonnes per capita in the year 2008. Over the past three decades African countries nearly doubled their trade volume in absolute terms, but decreased in relative terms in relation to other world regions (global shares) due to higher growth in other world regions. Africa as a continent was net-exporter of materials of around 409 million tonnes in 2008, mainly made up of fossils, metals and non-metallic minerals. Biomass constituted the main type of net-imports.

SERI is now presenting the background study as a SERI working paper to promote a public discussion on resource use developments in Africa.

The SERI working paper No. 13 is available here.

The UNCTAD “Economic Development in Africa Report 2012” can be found here.

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