Commonwealth countries rank as major producers of natural resources including gas and oil, minerals and precious metals such as gold, diamonds, platinum and copper.

There are 25 resource-rich countries, where mining and/or petroleum sectors are significant contributors to the economy, government revenue, foreign exchange and employment, in the Commonwealth. 

A surge in demand for minerals

This number is set to increase within the next decade given the surge in demand for minerals (such as cobalt, copper, lithium) required for renewable energy technologies, and the development of oil and gas discoveries in many countries. 

The importance of natural resources to Commonwealth countries

These natural resources are of particular importance to member states. For instance, all 21 Commonwealth countries in Africa are actively engaged in these sectors, and more than 60 per cent are resource dependent – that is, natural resources contribute more than 40 per cent of exports or 50 per cent of government revenue, or natural resource rents constitute more than 10 per cent of GDP. 

Natural resources are also of particular concern to many small states and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as resource dependency is an added source of vulnerability to exogenous shocks and environmental disasters. Currently almost 30 per cent of small states and half of LDCs in the Commonwealth are resource dependent, and this is set to increase in the near future.