Slide of the month (SOTM) July. Africa’s top imports in 2018

There are numerous business opportunities and potentials that exist in Africa which companies can take advantage of after further market research as well as designed entry strategies. With our focus being on Africa, we have looked into the African markets to see what sort of products are mostly imported in each market, and for the past year 2018 we were able to come up with the following findings.

Over the last five years, Africa has been recording a trade deficit when it comes to total annual imports and exports of goods. Data trends also show that imports to and exports from Africa started increasing in 2017 after the decline in 2015. Also, China, France, USA, Germany, and India have remained Africa’s top export partners in these past years.

In 2018, Africa’s total imports was worth approximately 549 billion USD, and the largest imported product (using the 4-digit category) was petroleum and mineral oils which was valued at approximately 60 billion USD, that is, 11% of Africa’s total imports in 2018.

The other top products imported by Africa are: Motor cars for persons (worth 17 billion USD), Medicaments (worth 11.4 billion USD), Telephone sets (worth 11.2 billion USD), Wheat and Meslin (worth 10.6 billion USD), Motor vehicles for goods (worth 6.3 billion USD), Rice (worth 6.3 billion USD), and Parts & accessories for vehicles (worth 6.1 billion USD).

The largest importers in order are: South Africa (imports worth 93 billion USD i.e. 17% of Africa’s total imports), Egypt (imports worth 81 billion USD i.e. 14.8% of Africa’s total imports), Morocco (imports worth 51 billion USD i.e. 9.3% of Africa’s total imports), Algeria (imports worth 47 billion USD i.e. 8.6% of Africa’s total imports), Nigeria (imports worth 36 billion USD i.e. 6.6% of Africa’s total imports), Tunisia (imports worth 20 billion USD i.e. 3.7% of Africa’s total imports), Kenya (imports worth 16 billion USD i.e. 2.9% of Africa’s total imports), Ghana (imports worth 12 billion USD i.e. 2.2% of Africa’s total imports).

In South Africa, the top three imports excluding petroleum and mineral oils are: motor cars, telephone sets, and medicaments. For Egypt, they are: motor cars, wheat and meslin, and telephone sets. Nigeria’s other top imports are: light-vessels fire-floats etc, wheat and meslin, and motor cars, while in Kenya, the other top imports are: motor cars, medicaments, and flat iron.