Is Africa resource-rich?

Via Chris Blattman, an intriguing answer to this question:
OECD nations have $123,000 worth of wealth under the average square kilometer of soil, in spite of the fact that they’ve been pulling wealth out of the ground for 200 years.
The average wealth per square kilometer in Africa: closer to $23,000.

As Collier pointed out, we weren’t completely in error. The $23,000 figure comes from known resource wealth. This suggests that another $100,000 is probably lying under the average square kilometer in Africa.

That’s right. Think the ‘resource curse’ is bad now? Wait until known resources multiply by six.

He relates a conversation with the Sierra Leone government last week, days after the sudden discovery of oil. “Now you have diamonds and oil,” he said. “You can be like Angola!”

The post also includes a link to the Natural Resources Charter, which I had not seen before but seems to have the right spirit. Unfortunately it appears to be mostly academics and have no industry backers. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has more sway, although I have heard it criticized as well. In any case, I think the move toward formalizing the social compact between resource-extracting foreign companies and the citizens of their host nations is a positive step, even if they don't come out perfect the first time.

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