SABC News - Trade amongst African countries fast tracks development :Tuesday 16 May 2017

Trade amongst African countries fast tracks development

Tuesday 16 May 2017 11:36

Michael O’Donovan

South Africa has, arguably, the biggest economy on the continent with a large manufacturing and financial base.(REUTERS)

Trade between African countries is one way in which development on the continent can be accelerated.

South Africa has, arguably, the biggest economy on the continent with a large manufacturing and financial base.

These make it potentially pivotal to boosting trade across the continent.

DTI figures show that 10% of South Africa's imports come from elsewhere on the continent.

Two thirds of those imports are from other members of the South African Development Community (SADC) customs union.

South Africa's biggest trading partners (in terms of imports) are Nigeria (R30-billion).

Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer and has an economy of similar size to that of South Africa.

South Africa's second biggest import trading partner is Angola (R18-billion).

The bulk of the trade with both of these countries is in oil.

Other than these two countries South Africa imports more than R2-billion worth of products from only eight other countries.

The neighbouring countries are Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Mauritius and Zambia.
South Africa exports three times more to the continent than it imports.




As a rule trade tends to be highly imbalanced.

The value of exports rarely matches the value of imports from any given country.

The biggest recipient of South African goods is Botswana who imports R54-billion products yet South Africa imports only R6-billion of products from that country.

Conversely Nigeria exports R30-billion worth of goods to South Africa it imports products worth only R6.5-billion from SA.

After Botswana the biggest recipients of SA goods are Namibia and Mozambique.

The fourth biggest African importer of South African goods is Zambia (R30-billion).

SA benefits by being able to export products to a larger number of African countries.

Whereas we import products worth in excess of R20-billion from only 10 African countries we export goods in excess of that value to 18 countries.

These include our neighbours and Egypt, Morocco, and Ghana.

Those countries where imports exceeded R20-billion in 2016 are mapped (separately) below.





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