Intra-African trade up 7.2% in 2023, report finds

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Intra-African trade up 7.2% in 2023, report finds

(Ecofin Agency) – Southern Africa remains the main driver of intra-African trade, accounting for 41.4% of all trade between the continent’s countries over the past year.

Intra-African trade increased by 7.2% in 2023, reaching $192 billion, according to a report released by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. The report, titled “African Trade Report 2024: Climate Implications of the AfCFTA Implementation,” highlighted that intra-regional trade accounted for 15% of Africa’s total trade last year, up from 13.6% in 2022.

However, this increase reveals major disparities between the continent’s sub-regions. With 41.4%, Southern Africa remains the main driver of trade between African countries, compared with 25.7% for West Africa, 14.1% for East Africa, 12.4% for North Africa and 6.6% for Central Africa.

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However, the report noted a 6.3% decrease in the overall value of Africa’s intra-regional and extra-regional trade in 2023, totaling approximately $1.3 trillion. This decline was attributed to several factors, including global demand for raw materials slowing down due to geopolitical tensions from the prolonged war in Ukraine and the Middle East conflict, persistent high interest rates, and economic slowdowns in China and other developed nations.

Oil, which makes up over 36% of Africa’s total exports, saw price volatility negatively affecting the continent’s trade performance. The average price of crude oil fell to $82.62 per barrel in 2023, down from around $99.82 per barrel in 2022. Major oil exporters like Nigeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Libya were significantly impacted. For instance, Nigeria experienced a 19.08% drop in its total trade with the rest of the world in 2023.

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The report also highlighted shifting trade partnerships for Africa as emerging Asian economies become significant sources of demand and growth. The European Union’s share in Africa’s exports declined from an average of 47.8% in the 1990s to 26.8% during the decade from 2014 to 2023. Conversely, Asia’s share rose from 4.5% in the 1990s to 26% in the last decade.