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Investment - January 27, 2022

Top 5 Countries that Trade the Most with Africa

Most foreign countries have increased their trade rate with Africa, with European Union (EU) countries taking the lead, followed by China. The percentage of growth is superior to that of other developing regions, such as Latin America. However, for a long time, imports have outnumbered exports, resulting in massive trade deficits in most African countries. 

The surge in demand for primary commodities during World War II and the immediate postwar reconstruction period is typically credited with the substantial growth in African exports. 

Africa’s Major Export

The demand for petroleum products by foreign countries has made it dominate the export trade in Africa. The discovery of petroleum in several countries, including Libya, Algeria, Nigeria, Gabon, Angola, the Republic of the Congo, and Cameroon, as well as the dramatic price increases imposed by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in the 1970s, were important factors in the growth of African exports. 

Other variables include the discovery and increased exploitation of high-demand minerals like diamonds particularly in Sierra Leone, the Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic, as well as the mining of other resources like uranium ore.

Iron ore in Mauritania and Liberia, copper in Zambia, cotton in Chad, coffee in Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Kenya, and Cote d’Ivoire, and sugar in Mauritius just to name a few.


Due to the rapid growth of Africa’s import trade, most African countries’ import bills have surpassed their export revenues. As a result, several governments have imposed import restrictions or subsidised many of the necessary imports. The majority of imports come from Western Europe, particularly European Union countries, with significant trading relations continuing along former colonial lines, imports from the United States, Japan, and South Africa, on the other hand, have increased significantly, and thus limited to mineral fuels, industrial goods, machinery, transportation equipment, and durable consumer items for the most part.

Here are 5 countries that trade the most with Africa.


Over time, trade between China and Africa has been well-balanced, and China has been a major investor with Africa and will take initiatives to increase imports from the continent.

Commerce between China and Africa is generally fairly balanced. Since 2000, China’s imports from Africa have totalled $1.2 trillion, with $1.27 trillion in exports. In recent years, bilateral trade has been valued at $200 billion each year, with China’s imports from and exports to Africa totalling $100 billion each.


From $6.8 billion in 2003 to $76.9 billion in 2018, India’s total trade with Africa has increased.

In contrast, India’s economic engagement with Africa began in earnest in the early 2000s. From $6.8 billion in 2003 to $76.9 billion in 2018, India’s total trade with Africa has increased. In the recent decade, India’s investments in Africa have risen quickly, and the country is now the continent’s seventh-largest investor. India’s development collaboration with Africa has expanded substantially as well. Since 2003, India has used concessional lines of credit (LoC) as one of its primary development partnership instruments to build railway lines, electrification and irrigation projects, and agriculture mechanization programs, among other things.


In October 2021, imports from Africa to the Netherlands grew to $5 million, up from $1 million in September.

On a global scale, Dutch international goods trade – including imports and exports, has expanded over the last fifty years. Imports of goods from Africa have lagged behind total imports. Africa accounted for 3.1% of Dutch imports between 2011 and 2020. Last year, total Dutch goods imports fell by 7.8%, but imports from Africa fell by 10.8%, resulting in a lower share of total goods imports of 2.6%.


In recent years, German businesses doing business in Africa have expressed delight at the ostensibly record-breaking trade between the two continents. However, things have become different.

According to Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, German imports from Africa declined drastically to 10.4 billion euro ($12.1) from January to July 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak. When compared to the same period in 2019, this represents a decrease of roughly 3.6 billion euro or 26%.

The outlook for exports isn’t much better. From January to July 2020, they declined by roughly 2.6 billion euro, or 18 %, to around 11.6 billion euro, compared to the same time last year.

The United States

The trade relationship between the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa is still in its infancy. Indeed, commerce between the United States and Africa has been falling since 2011. Only about 1.5 % of US exports go to Sub-Saharan Africa at the moment. At the same time, African economic growth averaged 5.8% from 2004 to 2014, but only 3.75 % in 2015, owing in part to a drop in commodity prices, a crucial export for many African countries, as a result of China’s slower development rates.


READ MORE: Top 10 Most Corrupt Countries in Africa

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