Africa Trade, Exports and Imports

By: EconomyWatch Content   Date: 30 March 2010

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The Africa trade is dominated by diverse natural resources that the continent enjoys in abundance. However, trade varies from one country to another. Countries such as South Africa represent the higher side of the spectrum whereas regions such as Burundi have the least trade volumes. A majority of African countries are underdeveloped and therefore, rely heavily on foreign aids to survive. Africa trade is, therefore, a representation of extremes.

 
The Africa trade is dominated by diverse natural resources that the continent enjoys in abundance. However, trade varies from one country to another. Countries such as South Africa represent the higher side of the spectrum whereas regions such as Burundi have the least trade volumes. A majority of African countries are underdeveloped and therefore, rely heavily on foreign aids to survive. Africa trade is, therefore, a representation of extremes.

Africa Trade: Exports

Botswana and South Africa are two biggest exporting countries in Africa. South Africa is the world’s biggest producer of gold as well as diamonds. The country has a well developed law system. South Africa has a large pool of skilled labour and, advanced infrastructure and developed financial resources. All these factors are mostly missing from other countries.

                                             

The main exported commodities of African nations are:

  • Palm oil

  • Gold and diamonds

  • Oil

  • Cocoa

  • Timber

  • Precious metals 

Oil export has been the main stay for many economies. Nigeria is one of the world's largest oil reserves and Africa's largest oil producer. With its resources, Nigeria can produce 3.2 million barrels/day. However it only produces an average of 2.21 million barrels/day. .

 

In the last two decades, countries such as Sudan, Angola, and Equatorial Guinea have also benefited due to their oil exports.

Africa Trade: Imports

Africa struggles with food items and basic facilities. It is often under the grip of internal outbreaks, leaving less scope for infrastructural or administrative change over. Therefore, African imports feature medical supplies as well as food items.

 

The main imported commodities are:

  • Machinery and equipment

  • Chemicals

  • Petroleum products

  • Scientific instruments

  • Foodstuffs

 

Machinery and equipments imports have become a regular as the region is trying to uplift its productivity and make use of the vast resources.

 

However, the imports are limited to nations that have a decent level of consumption. Otherwise, Africa has regions such as sub Saharan regions where people still live under 70 cents a day.

 

Overall, Africa trade has been helped enormously by other such as Germany, Japan and China that have not only invested a lot in the emerging countries but have been regular African trade partners as well.

 

  

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