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|The vibrant Economy|
African countries vary in their levels of economic development, however, the continent as a whole is considered to be a developing region by world standards.
The most economically developed country is South Africa. Next are the Mediterranean countries in northern Africa and Nigeria. The following countries are considered to be partly developed - Zaire, Kenya, Cameroon, Ghana, Cote D'Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Gabon, Reunion, Namibia, and Mauritius. The remaining countries are considered to be less developed.
The economy is based on agriculture in most of the countries and yet only 6 percent of the land mass is arable, while 25 % is covered with forests, and another 25% is used for pasture or rangeland.
Approximately 66% of the available work force are involved in farming. Some of the produce raised includes: peanuts, coffee, tea, sugarcane, bananas, oranges, grapes, pineapples, olives, coconut oil, tomatoes, and cacao. They also raise the following crops: corn, wheat, rice, millet, sorghum, cassava, plantains, sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, barley, dry beans and watermelon. The majority of the crops are raised in Ethiopia, Zaire, Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt.
Livestock is raised mainly in eastern and northern Africa where you will find goats, sheep, cattle and pigs being raised. There are very few dairy farmers in Africa, which results in the need to import dairy products. Some livestock is raised to provide a mode of transportation or to carry out farm work.
Africa has a large wood supply provided by its forested regions.
Most of the wood that is cut is used to provide fuel. However, several countries have developed their forestry for export, they include Cote D'Ivoire, South Africa and Gabon.
Several countries have focused on tourism to provide for a major source of income.
These countries are considered to have the best facilities for tourists: Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Cote D'Ivoire, Botswana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. The African National Parks featuring spectacular wildlife are a major attraction for tourists throughout Africa.
There are numerous commercial safari companies offering a wide variety of experiences.
Gold and diamonds are major sources of revenue for those countries that produce them. Diamonds come from Zaire, South Africa and Botswana.
These three countries alone provide at least half of the world's diamonds. Gold is mined in Ghana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe and are considered to produce half of the world's gold.
Most of the petroleum and natural gas comes from Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria, and Libya. Manufacturing is not a major source of revenue in countries throughout Africa.
At this point South Africa, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Mauritius and Swaziland are the only countries to be somewhat industrialized.
Economic trade is primarily with Europe, the United States and Japan.
The main exports are petroleum, natural gas, food, tobacco, and raw materials. Imports include manufactured goods, machinery, and equipment for transportation, foods, beverages, tobacco, petroleum and natural gas from OPEC.