Top African Export Countries

South Africa sunset

South Africa sunset

Exports from Africa totaled US$476.6 billion in 2018. That dollar amount reflects an -11.3% drop since 2014 but a 12.8% year-over-year upturn from 2017 to 2018. In comparison, global exports from all countries worldwide equaled $19.228 trillion in 2018, rising 1.2% in value since 2014 and appreciating by 8.5% from 2017 to 2018.

Africa’s exports represent an estimated 2.5% of total world exports in 2018.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, the total Gross Domestic Product for Africa calculated on a Purchase Power Parity (PPP) basis amounted to roughly $6.813 trillion in 2018. Therefore, exports account for about 7% of Africa’s total economic output.

Given Africa’s population of about 1.264 billion people, the total $476.6 billion in 2018 exported goods originating from continental Africa translates to roughly $375 per African resident.

Top African Export Countries

Below are the top African export countries that achieved the highest dollar value in global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage change in value since 2014 plus each country’s percentage share of the continent’s total exports.

RankExporter2018 Exports%Total2014-8
1.South Africa$94.4 billion19.8%+2%
2.Nigeria$52.9 billion11.1%-46.7%
3.Angola$42.1 billion8.8%-28.2%
4.Algeria$41.6 billion8.7%-31.1%
5.Libya$30 billion6.3%+43%
6.Egypt$29.4 billion6.2%+9.6%
7.Morocco$29.3 billion6.2%+23.2%
8.Ghana$17.1 billion3.6%no 2014 data
9.Tunisia$15.5 billion3.2%-7.6%
10.Ivory Coast$11.8 billion2.5%-8.9%
11.Democr. Rep. Congo$9.73 billion2.04%+16.3%
12.Congo$9.66 billion2.03%+47.6%
13.Zambia$9.1 billion1.9%-6.6%
14.Equatorial Guinea$6.41 billion1.345%-51.4%
15.Gabon$6.39 billion1.34%-40.5%
16.Mozambique$5.2 billion1.08%+9.2%
17.Kenya$5.1 billion1.07%-16.9%
18.Namibia$4.8 billion1%-0.19
19.Botswana$4.5 billion0.94%-43.5%
20.Cameroon$4.2 billion0.87%-19.5%
21.Zimbabwe$4 billion0.85%+31.8%
22.Guinea$3.9 billion0.82%+99.6%
23.Tanzania$3.8 billion0.8%-33.5%
24.Burkina Faso$3.3 billion0.7%+26.1%
25.Uganda$3.1 billion0.65%+36.5%
26.Madagascar$3 billion0.63%+33.7%
27.Senegal$2.6 billion0.55%-5.4%
28.Sudan$2.33 billion0.49%no 2014 data
29.Mauritania$2.18 billion0.46%+2.1%
30.Ethiopia$2.16 billion0.45%-27.5%
31.Mauritius$1.96 billion0.41%-26.3%
32.Eswatini$1.75 billion0.37%-6.9%
33.South Sudan$1.61 billion0.34%-63.5%
34.Chad$1.57 billion0.33%-50.5%
35.Mali$1.55 billion0.33%no 2014 data
36.Liberia$1.34 billion0.28%no 2014 data
37.Togo$1.28 billion0.27%+58.7%
38.Lesotho$1.22 billion0.26%+48.8%
39.Malawi$975.1 million0.2%-31.3%
40.Benin$684.6 million0.14%-29.3%
41.Sierra Leone$678.5 million0.14%1.43
42.Seychelles$646.1 million0.14%+17.2%
43.Eritrea$376.7 million0.08%-35.3%
44.Rwanda$353.3 million0.07%-45.9%
45.Niger$285.8 million0.06%-72.8%
46.Guinea-Bissau$150 million0.03%no 2014 data
47.Somalia$104.5 million0.022%-83.8%
48.Djibouti$103.1 million0.022%-33.1%
49.Central African Rep$99.1 million0.021%+378.5%
50.Burundi$97.1 million0.0204%-31.4%
51.Comoros$94.5 million0.0198%0.55
52.Cabo Verde$75.3 million0.0158%-78.9%
53.Saint Helena$33.7 million0.0071%+40.7%
54.French Southern/Antarctic Terr$25.7 million0.0054%+4.5%
55.Sao Tome and Principe$12.6 million0.0027%+20.4%
56.Gambia$9.1 million0.0019%-91.3%
57.British Indian Ocean Territory$8.4 million0.0018%-74.8%
58.Western Sahara$715,0000.0002%-84%

The top 10 African exporters provided over three-quarters (76.4%) of all international product sales sent from Africa during 2018.


Twenty-two African export countries increased the value of their exports from 2014 to 2018 led by: Central African Republic (up 378.5%), Sierra Leone (up 143%), Guinea (up 99.6%), Togo (up 58.7%), Comoros (up 55%) then Lesotho (up 48.8%).

Leading the decliners were: Gambia (down -91.3%), Western Sahara (down -84%), Somalia (down -83.8%) then Cabo Verde (down -78.9%).

See also South Africa’s Top 10 Exports and Nigeria’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
Central Intelligence Agency, Population statistics by country. Accessed on April 30, 2019

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports and World Population, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 30, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, Accessed on April 30, 2019

Wikipedia, List of Asian countries by population. Accessed on April 30, 2019