War on terror or competition for natural resources? A look at the US and French military presence in Africa. Africa remains a key territory on the global chessboard of the 21st century. Rich in oil and natural resources, the continent holds a strategic position. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to six of the worlds 10 fastest growing economies. North Africa counts with vast oil and natural gas deposits, the Sahara holds the most strategic nuclear ore, and resources like coltan, gold, copper among many others are abundant in the continent.