The Commodity Economy of Africa 
African countries depend heavily on exports of one or a few primary commodities.  However they are relatively small exporters of most of these commodities to the worldmarket. As a result, the continent has little or no control over the international markets. 

Given their low level of economical and technical development, African countries have made little progress in processing their commodities before export. The bulk of their commodities is exported in primary form and denies them substantial domestic value added. 

The production structure of most African countries is heavily concentrated on the primary sector. Agriculture is the dominant sector, strongly concentrated on the production of cashcrops for exportation. Two-thirds of the non-oil exporting countries in Sub Saharan Africa rely on agriculture for over 30 percent of their GDP. 

Despite the relatively rapid growth of the industrial sector during the last decade compared with agriculture, the share of manufacturing in the GDP remains low for the majority of African countries. On the whole three-quarters of the African labour force is employed in agriculture. 

Kenneth K.S. Dadzie 
Kenneth Dadzie is a Ghanaian economist and Director General of UNCTAD. 

Source: Africa Today