La dernière frontière des ressources

OXFORD – Dans la décennie à venir, l’exploitation du pétrole, du gaz, et du minerai de fer représentera de loin la plus importante opportunité économique dans l’histoire de l’Afrique. L’Afrique est la dernière frontière pour la découverte de ressources, ayant été longtemps relativement négligée par les sociétés minières et d’exploitation d’autres ressources compte tenu de conditions politiques difficiles. Mais la hausse des prix des matières premières vient à bout des réticences, et la prospection crée une multitude de nouvelles découvertes.  

Dans la mesure où le taux d’exploitation des ressources au kilomètre carré en Afrique représente environ de 20% de la moyenne de l’OCDE, le total du volume d’exploitation pourrait aisément être multiplié par cinq. Les prix élevés et la découverte de nouveaux gisements génèreront des flux financiers tellement importants qu’ils pourraient, si gérés de manière appropriée, profondément transformer les régions pauvres de l’Afrique en régions très prospères. Les revenus issus de ces gisements éclipseront toute autre forme de flux financiers sur le continent.

Mais, trop souvent dans l’histoire de l’Afrique, l’argent qui aurait du permettre de financer des investissement productifs a été pillé ou gaspillé. Le défi aujourd’hui est d’éviter que ne se répète la triste histoire d’exploitation du continent au cours de cette nouvelle ère d’extraction massive des ressources.

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