I have always wanted to go on a journey, my teenage years were a time for discovering the world we live in and it was ever changing. I wanted to discover my true self in the world. Geography and learning about the environment was something that was very true to my heart as I was learning about all subject matters. I wanted to learn every aspect of the opportunities that were in the world. How as an individual can I help to restore confidence to the human population?
Why not take that chance to visit somewhere of the unexplored world to build knowledge and a foundation which will last you for life? I came across travel as topic which can be replayed again and again.
I was aiming to learn about life. I used to listen to my geography teacher about culture. He talked about a sustainable future. I am only living in the present, so the passing of time is a different scenario. We are constantly changing as individuals.
I saw a travel map and a large continent called Africa, what a place, what a destination! I was just staring in awe at the continent of Africa, trying to imagine what it would be like to be there!
So many countries to discover, at the time there were 53 recognized countries in Africa which one should I chose to go to first? When I started to read about it: it was a never-ending book of learning which retold elements of life which were so exciting and pure.
Why has Africa always been in challenging times? The area that has so many many cultural differences, but united by one thing: past conflits. It has always been the place of the poor and crime on mass scale. This is an extremely complex topic and I will address this in a later blog.
My first boyfriend and I went to Tunisia, we learnt about the Roman empire having been in north Africa. The Roman empire had been in such a dominant position, seeing their magnificent ancient architecture on the beautiful landscape. I can see why the Romans wanted to get a piece of the action in a beautiful place. The air was so dry from day one when I had landed excitedly at the airport. The sun was burning down on my face. The dominance of the landscape for conquer and regrow as their culture was great.
This is where I was learning about the gateway to Africa. A continent so rich in history that it could last a life to learn about the full resources which it was holding in the earth. Just like the Romans Africa had been a great place for raiding in the form of many cultures from, corruption of the slaves to the second world war conquests in Ethiopian and Egypt. Resources have always been a form of drawing other countries coming into the area – like us the UK.
What resources does Africa hold?
I found out Africa is abundantly rich in natural resources, encompassing a wide range of minerals, energy sources, agricultural products and more. Below are those sought after key resources that Africa holds:
- Gold: South Africa, Ghana and Mali are major producers of gold.
- Diamonds: Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
- Platinum: South Africa is a major producer of platinum/
- Copper: Zambia and the DRC are the leading copper-producing countries.
- Oil: Nigeria, Angola and Libya are major oil producing countries.
- Natural Gas: Algeria, Nigeria and Egypt have significant natural gas reserves.
- Renewable Energy: It isn’t all bad though some African countries such as Morocco and South Africa are investing in renewable energy sources such as solar power and wind power.
Agricultural Products – These are being used heavily used with fair trade:
- Cocoa: West African countries, such as Ivory Coast and Ghana, are major producers of cocoa.
- Coffee: Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya are prominent coffee-producing nations.
- Cotton: Countries like Mali, Burkina Faso and Egypt are known for cotton production.
- Tea: Kenya and Malawi are significant tea producers
- Timber: Countries like Gabon and Cameroon have extensive forests with timber resources.
- Nile River: The Nile, one of the world’s longest rivers, flows through six African countries: starting in Kenya, flowing through Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, ending in Egypt.
- Congo River: The Congo River, with its cast basin, is an important water resource in central Africa.
- Bauxite: Guinea is a major producer of bauxite, an ore used in aluminum production.
- Iron Ore: Countries like Mauritania and South Africa have significant iron ore deposits.
Gems and Precious Stones:
- Emeralds: Zambia is known for its emerald production.
- Sapphires and Rubies: Madagascar is a source of coloured gemstones.
- Fish: Coastal countries such as Senegal, Mauritania and Namibia have rich fisheries.
- Biodiversity: Africa is home to such diverse wildlife, supporting ecosystems that attract tourism and contribute to conservation efforts.
- Arable Land: Africa also has vast areas of arable land, that could support extra agriculture if needed.
It’s important to note that while Africa is extremely rich in its resources, the equitable and sustainable management of these resources remain a challenge due to climate change and in some regions, and development of infrastructure because governance structures plays a crucial role in harnessing the potential for economic growth and society well-being.
My question was answered by discovering the Fairtrade movement, a positive movement to give workers the right to a fairer society. We will live in the present and help the future? Then I thought back to my geography session and the question of why I was studying the geography were answered. We are moving forward in society as a whole. Need all the fairtrade products will be purchased from co-operatives and non-government organisations from home and abroad that help the workers produce the goods and support different community projects across the world. The design of products will aim to include a traditional ethnic towards that country, geographic area or organisation.
In Tunisia I saw a woman making a carpet which was going to be sold to a tourist, I was on a coach tour and just wondered the cost of the worker in making the carpet. I was looking into the fairtrade movement in Africa for the first time. What other examples were there? It was a surprise to me that I learnt that Africa as well as the middle east can account for a third of all trade does at the end of 2020. 627 groups in 28 places in the region and is still increasing.
Flowers, coffee and bananas are the 3 highest selling products in the area.
I wanted to take further steps to learn the true value of Africa.
I did not know what form this would take.? Next blog is about the continued journey.