Top African Export Countries

South Africa sunset

South Africa sunset

Exports from Africa totaled US$420.5 billion in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a -27% drop since 2013 but a 24% year-over-year uptick from 2016 to 2017. In comparison, global exports from all countries worldwide equaled $17.585 trillion in 2017, falling -6.9% in value since 2013 but appreciating by 10.7% after 2016.

Africa’s exports represent an estimated 2.4% of total world exports in 2017.

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 $6.358 trillion in 2017. Therefore, exports account for about 6.6% of Africa’s total economic output.

Given Africa’s population of about 1.172 billion people, the total $420.5 billion in 2017 exports originating from the Dark Continent translates to roughly $360 per African resident.

Top African Export Countries

Below are the top African export countries that achieved the highest dollar value in global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage change in value since 2013 plus each country’s percentage share of the continent’s total exports.

RankExporter2017 ExportsSince 2013%Africa Total
1.South Africa$88.3 billion-7.1%21%
2.Nigeria$40.7 billion-54.5%9.7%
3.Angola$36.7 billion-45.8%8.7%
4.Algeria$35.2 billion-46.7%8.4%
5.Egypt$25.9 billion-9.9%6.2%
6.Morocco$25.6 billion+16.6%6.1%
7.Libya, State of$19.5 billion-54.3%4.6%
8.Ghana$14.4 billion+13.6%3.41%
9.Tunisia$14.2 billion-16.8%3.38%
10.Côte d'Ivoire$12.6 billion+3.9%2.99%
11.Democr. Rep. Congo$8.3 billion+1.6%1.97%
12.Congo$8.1 billion-22.1%1.94%
13.Zambia$8.1 billion-23.3%1.93%
14.Cameroon$6.53 billion+44.4%1.55%
15.Guinea$5.96 billion+234.8%1.42%
16.Botswana$5.9 billion-22.1%1.4%
17.Kenya$5.7 billion-1.4%1.37%
18.Gabon$5.4 billion-53.7%1.29%
19.Equatorial Guinea$5.3 billion-63.6%1.27%
20.Namibia$5.2 billion-17.5%1.24%
21.Mozambique$4.7 billion+16.5%1.11%
22.Tanzania$4.2 billion-5.3%0.99%
23.Senegal$3 billion+12.3%0.71%
24.Uganda$2.9 billion+20.5%0.69%
25.Ethiopia$2.86 billion+10.5%0.68%
26.Madagascar$2.85 billion+75%0.68%
27.Burkina Faso$2.81 billion+18.2%0.67%
28.Zimbabwe$2.4 billion-30.8%0.58%
29.Mauritius$2.1 billion-10.2%0.5%
30.Mauritania$2.06 billion-16.5%0.49%
31.Niger$1.99 billion+49%0.47%
32.Swaziland$1.8 billion-3.2%0.43%
33.Mali$1.4 billionno 2013 data0.33%
34.Chad$1.3 billion-58.2%0.32%
35.Malawi$889.1 million-24.7%0.21%
36.Togo$749.3 million-34.6%0.18%
37.Benin$731.6 million+21.5%0.17%
38.Lesotho$672.6 million+90.1%0.16%
39.Seychelles$646.4 million+12.6%0.15%
40.Rwanda$608.5 million+0.1%0.14%
41.Eritrea$436.7 million+33.5%0.1%
42.Somalia$389.3 million-39.6%0.09%
43.Liberia$194.7 millionno 2013 data0.046%
44.Central African Rep$192 million+297.5%0.046%
45.Guinea-Bissau$189.3 millionno 2013 data0.045%
46.Djibouti$155.5 million-11.8%0.037%
47.Burundi$141.7 million-31.5%0.034%
48.Sierra Leone$102.7 millionno 2013 data0.024%
49.Comoros$86.6 million+754.6%0.021%
50.Cabo Verde$49.9 million-85%0.012%
51.Saint Helena$28.2 million+28.1%0.007%
52.Gambia$22.5 million-78.8%0.005%
53.Br. Indian Ocean Terr$17.9 million-47.9%0.0043%
54.French S./Antarctic Terr$15.8 million-57.3%0.0038%
55.Sao Tome/Principe$10.6 million+52.2%0.0025%
56.Western Sahara$971,000-47.8%0.0002%

The top 10 African exporters provided about three-quarters (74.5%) of all international product sales sent from Africa during 2017.

Twenty-two African export countries increased the value of their exports from 2013 to 2017 led by: Comoros (up 754.6%), Central African Republic (up 297.5%), Guinea (up 234.8%), Lesotho (up 90.1%), Madagascar (up 75%), Sao Tome/Principe (up 52.2%) then Niger (up 49%).

Leading the decliners were: Cabo Verde (down -85%), Gambia (down -78.8%), Equatorial Guinea (down -63.6%) then Chad (down -58.2%).

See also Major Exports by Continent, South Africa’s Top 10 Exports and Nigeria’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
Central Intelligence Agency, Population statistics by country. Accessed on July 25, 2018

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 25, 2018

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports and World Population, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on July 25, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, Accessed on November 22, 2018