The United States has noticed the African oil and petroleum reserves. Crude oil dominates US imports from Sub-Saharan Africa, and accounts for 61% of US purchases from the region. In 2002, Sub-Saharan Africa provided 13.8% of the US crude oil imports (by value); compare this to the Persian Gulf which provides the US with 23% of its oil imports and the significance of African natural resources for the US becomes clear (Feldman
According to the United States Department of Commerce, however, US trade with Sub-Saharan Africa has been unstable, falling 15% in 2002. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) prevented more drastic drops, and up to 75% of AGOA imports have been petroleum products. In spite of these figures, it remains that Sub-Saharan Africa's total merchandise exports were $86.2 billion in 2002, which is virtually the same as it was two years prior, when "high prices for crude oil, diamonds, and platinum group metals propelled a 22% spike in export growth (Feldman)."
Regardless of its natural resources, Africa must contend with a series of formidable impediments to economic growth. Non-oil commodities prices have been slow in recovering from depressed 2001 prices; further, an overdependence on US and European markets renders Africa particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in those economies. Additionally, "armed conflict, political instability, famine, and foreign debt continue to threaten Sub-Saharan Africa's economic recovery (FeldmanA particularly formidable spate of impediments to growth thus plagues the African continent and threatens to undermine its attempts to develop and modernize.
Perhaps the largest, most dangerous trend to afflict the African continent, however, is the HIV/AIDS crisis. The HIV/AIDS explosion in Africa has been and will continue to be an enormous factor, as more than 70% of the world's HIV positive population resides in Sub-Saharan Africa. Within the continent, nearly one-in-th...
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