What Are The Top African Products?

The top African products are the major exports going to other parts of the world from the continent. In today’s world, productivity determines economic strength, not just in terms of the quality of life of the citizens, but also in terms of what resources are available to the government (and private bodies like you) to plan for the future.

Productivity also plays a big role in international politics; political arm twisting commonly involves embargoes, and the refusal to supply certain commodities until certain advantageous terms are met.

Africa’s lack of economic strength, and political influence can be traced to the lack of the proper valuation of her products; when you do not value what you have, you cannot expect someone else to value it. If the continent is to grow, it must do a better job of packaging and promoting its products.

What Are The Top African Products?

Human potential

Human potential is the number one African export to Europe, America and Asia. This has been true since the time of the Transatlantic Slave Trade which saw black people shipped to Europe and America to provide labour for their agricultural and construction industries.

Labour is still an important factor of production; although the key focus where African human potential is utilized in Europe and America is no longer brute force but talent.

The best talents in almost every facet of life are leaving Africa.

African Medical Professionals

African Sportsmen

African Academics

African Movie Talent

African Administrators, Financial Experts, and Economists

Of course there are also Africans working in industries in Europe and America.

The best talents from Africa often go abroad to supply their services to Europe, America and Asia. Their host countries therefore become stronger and better as a result of their expertise.


Energy in the form of Petroleum, Gas, Coal and Uranium is a major product of Africa. Major African producers of oil include Algeria, Libya, Nigeria, Angola, Egypt, Republic of Congo, and so on. Major producers of Gas include Algeria, Egypt, and Nigeria.

Namibia is a major producer of Uranium ore, and so are Niger Republic, and South Africa. Coal is past its peak as an important source of energy, but it is still produced by South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

Africa therefore plays a major role in powering industry across the world. From fueling cars to powering nuclear power stations, the continent does much to help the world meet its energy needs.

Iron Ore

Iron Ore production is dominated by South Africa, Mauritania and Algeria. However, other countries such as Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea and Liberia are starting to catch up.

Africa produces large quantities of this product, and has the potential to supply even more. For example; in 2007, a British mining firm discovered 500 million tonnes of Iron Ore in Congo Brazzaville.

Iron is an important material in the making of steel, which is also used in the construction, auto-making, weapons manufacturing, and other industries.


Copper is traditionally produced by Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; however, other countries like South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, Zambia and Namibia are starting to catch up.

Cobalt is also mentioned in connection with Copper; countries that intend to create trade relations with African nations in order to get copper often extend the demand to cobalt.

There is a lot of potential around this metal as it concerns the development of the African economy. Copper is an industrial metal; it is used for making electrical conductors, wiring, motors, heat conductors, and so on.  As far as technology is concerned; Copper will continue to play an important part.


The top African gold producers are Ghana, South Africa, Sudan, and Mali. Between them they have an annual output of 408 tonnes of the precious metal. Gold is so important that the value of the currencies of the top producers rise and sink with the international prices of this metal.

Gold is a form of currency; it is often stored and exchanged between wealthy individuals, countries and corporations. It is also a store of value (perhaps the only true store of value). Gold is also used to make ornaments and jewelries. It is also used to make electronic components.


Diamonds often leave Africa as dirty stones. Traditionally the biggest producers were Liberia and Sierra Leone, but now the balance of power has shifted; and so the largest African producers of these gems include Botswana, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, and Namibia.

Diamonds are some of the most expensive ornaments. They are worn on the most expensive rings and neck-laces, as well as tiaras, crowns, and brooches worn by royalty.

Diamonds are stores of value; they can be stored away in vaults, and sold in the future, just like gold, or any other precious metal.

Diamonds are also important in industry because they are extremely durable. They are used to drill the hardest surfaces.


Cocoa is one of the top African products; it is produced by Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Uganda. Together, these countries account for two-thirds of the world’s cocoa output. That means it is a product for which Africa has an almost monopoly.

Cocoa is an important commodity; it is used in the making of chocolate, chocolate beverages, and confectioneries. Chocolate is widely popular; it is used in everyday life, and also on special occasions.


Cotton is produced in large quantities by Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Tanzania, Cameroon and Central African Republic. There is plenty of potential for this product as many other African countries are presently putting the structures on ground to increase production.

Cotton is used in the making of clothing, medical supplies, tents, fishing nets, book binding materials, and so on.


Coffee is produced in large quantities in Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Kenya, and Côte d’Ivoire.

Coffee is a very popular beverage; it is consumed all over the world, but especially in Europe and America.


The top African producers of sugar include Uganda, Kenya, Mauritius, Egypt, Eswatini, Sudan, South Africa. There may be some deliberate misinformation going around regarding the role of Africa in Sugar production around the world. However, it is certainly clear that Africa is growing in importance when it comes to the global sugar market.

Sugar is the most popular sweetener in the world. It is used in making processed foods, as well as in making, confectioneries, beverages, and alcoholic drinks. Sugar is even used in preparing medicines for children.

What Are Some African Products With Great Potential?

The following products have not been researched and developed enough so as to improve them, and make them marketable outside the continent. This does not mean that they are not being sold; it just means that if the above steps are taken; it would go a long way to establish them as genuine products which can help change the continent’s economic output.

Palm Wine

Palm Oil

Palm Kernel Oil

Yam Flour

Cassava Flakes

Cashew Nuts

Groundnut Oil

Sheer Butter

Medicinal Herbs (This may have the greatest potential in the future)

Problems Of African Production

Lack Of Good Leadership

Africa has over the years had a penchant of electing the worst possible leaders. Sometimes, these leaders are not even elected; they take power by force, and they only think about retaining power, without any thought to improving the productive capacity of their countries.

An Inferior Mentality

Africans have been indoctrinated into thinking that our own products are of inferior quality. For example; they prefer importing foreign food items such as rice, flour, and noodles. Africans think that foreign clothing brands, processed food, and other items make them better persons.

This means that African products are not appreciated; and this lack of demand for African made goods results in the death of industry.

Social Unrest

Africa is often embroiled in war and conflict; and this causes all sectors of the economy into retrogression. Peace and stability are needed to grow any economy, and to encourage production.

Further Reading:


What are the top African products?

When discussing the top African products; it is important to note that these products usually leave the continent in crude form. Until concerted efforts are made to convert these raw materials into finished products before shipping them out, the effects of having them may continue to be minimal.

Africa must do more to increase international trade within the continent; Africans must develop an interest; a preference for products made on the continent.

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