by Mabasa Sasa [Acting Editor]
For years, there has been anecdotal evidence that Western countries know more about Africa’s mineral reserves than Africans themselves.
This, analysts have noted, could be a result of a combination of factors, including lack of investment in geological surveying by Africa, better appreciation of Africa’s resources by Westerners than by Africans, and poor policy planning by technocrats and politicians on the continent. In Zimbabwe’s case, the full appreciation of the country’s mineral wealth was evident among Westerners long before Independence.
In “The Great Betrayal”, Rhodesia’s last Prime Minister Ian Douglas Smith spoke of receiving “an interesting briefing” in from his security council about “the communist plan for Africa, as part of their overall scheme for world domination”.
Smith said a map was produced that showed the “communists had firmly established themselves in a number of countries in North Africa, methodically moving on to new ground once a base had been secured”.
“The ultimate target was South Africa, which was not only the industrial giant of Africa, but was one of the most richly mineralised parts of our world…
“It was a few years later that I was pleased to receive a report that the United States had been alerted to this development and, as a result, their Congress Committee on Strategic Minerals and Mining had sent a mission to investigate.
“After visiting Zaire, Zambia, Rhodesia and South Africa, they produced a commendable report and in most expressive language termed the area ‘the Persian Gulf of strategic minerals of our earth’.
“Apart from the greatest world deposits of gold, diamonds, platinum and chrome, they itemised a list of other strategic minerals in which many countries, including the USA and Canada, are deficient.
“The only other country where one could find a similar conglomerate of these minerals was the USSR; if the Soviets could have gained control of this area, therefore, they would have had a virtual world monopoly.
“The report warned the American Congress and the nation of this potential danger, and urged them to rouse themselves from their complacency,” Smith wrote.
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