Our figure of the month 03/2019: Export flows between Germany and Africa in imbalance

Interest in Africa increased in 2018 not only in Germany. Other countries such as Great Britain and China also became more involved in the region. There are many reasons why Europe and China are interested in Africa: creating new sales markets, securing access to important raw materials or avoiding refugee causes.

Suddenly everyone wants to go to Africa. But what are the trade prospects from the perspective of the African countries? The chart shows that the export flow from Germany to Africa is more than twice as large as the exports from Africa to Germany.

The trade imbalance shown in the graph is not only due to the low economic performance of the continent, which consists mainly of developing countries. The compartmentalisation of the European market and, above all, the European agricultural market are also reasons for the low export volume.

Part of the story, however, can also be traced back to the fact that the majority of African countries are raw material exporters. For North, West and Central Africa, the export of crude oil and natural gas is the main export commodity. While East Africa is particularly strong in the export of agricultural commodities, South Africa primarily supplies base metals. The main exports are goods with a very low share of value added.

Africa must therefore face several challenges: increasing its participation in international trade, reducing the dependence of African exports on the industrialized countries and China, and increasing the depth of value added of export goods.

Further details on the dynamics and structure of the export flows of the five African regions North, West, Central, East and South Africa can be found in the short message 2019/01.

Other figures can be found here.

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