Top African Export Countries

South Africa sunset

South Africa sunset

Exports from Africa were worth US$327.7 billion in 2016 down by -50.4% since 2012. Year over year, African sales of exported products retreated -15.4% from 2015 to 2016.

Africa’s exports represent an estimated 2.1% of total world exports which were an estimated $15.862 trillion during 2016.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, the total Gross Domestic Product for African countries amounted to roughly $6.037 trillion in 2016. Therefore, exports account for about 5.4% of Africa’s total economic output.

Given Africa’s population of about 1.138 billion people, the total $327.7 billion in 2016 African exports translates to roughly $288 for every person on the continent.

Top African Export Countries

Below are the top African export countries that achieved the highest dollar value in global shipments during 2016. Also shown is each country’s portion of overall African exports plus percentage changes in value since 2012.

RankExporter2016 Exports% African TotalSince 2012
1.South Africa$74.1 billion22.6%-25%
2.Nigeria$35.5 billion10.8%-75.2%
3.Algeria$28.9 billion8.8%-59.8%
4.Angola$27.3 billion8.3%-61.5%
5.Morocco$22.8 billion7%+6.7%
6.Egypt$22.5 billion6.9%-23.5%
7.Tunisia$13.3 billion4%-22.1%
8.Côte d'Ivoire$9.9 billion3%-9%
9.Ghana$9.8 billion3%-37.8%
10.Botswana$7.3 billion2.2%+22.6%
11.Libya$6.8 billion2.1%-88.6%
12.Zambia$5.0 billion1.5%-47%
13.Congo$4.7 billion1.4%-37.2%
14.Equatorial Guinea$4.6 billion1.4%-70.7%
15.Democratic Rep. Congo$4.5 billion1.4%-36.9%
16.Gabon$3.9 billion1.2%-66.6%
17.Tanzania$3.7 billion1.1%-34.2%
18.Kenya$3.6 billion1.1%-40.6%
19.Mozambique$3.4 billion1%-3.3%
20.Namibia$3.0 billion0.9%-44.8%
21.Zimbabwe$2.8 billion0.9%-27%
22.Senegal$2.6 billion0.8%+4.3%
23.Burkina Faso$2.5 billion0.8%+19.3%
24.Mauritius$2.2 billion0.7%-2.8%
25.Madagascar$2.2 billion0.7%+76.4%
26.Guinea$2.1 billion0.7%-1.7%
27.Cameroon$2.1 billion0.7%-50.1%
28.Ethiopia$1.7 billion0.5%-40.4%
29.Mauritania$1.7 billion0.5%-34.3%
30.Chad$1.5 billion0.5%-54.9%
31.Swaziland$1.4 billion0.4%-16.4%
32.Uganda$1.1 billion0.3%-52.9%
33.Mali$1.1 billion0.3%-58.5%
34.Niger$929.9 million0.3%-32.6%
35.Lesotho$895.5 million0.3%+32%
36.Liberia$853.7 million0.3%-36%
37.Malawi$843.4 million0.3%-30%
38.Togo$714.9 million0.2%-25.6%
39.Rwanda$621.6 million0.2%+22.6%
40.Somalia$554.1 million0.2%+9.7%
41.Seychelles$551.6 million0.2%-16.3%
42.Sierra Leone$465.6 million0.1%+150%
43.Benin$409.8 million0.1%-11%
44.Eritrea$286.1 million0.1%-51.8%
45.Guinea-Bissau$263.3 million0.1%+45.5%
46.Burundi$125.4 million0.04%-48.4%
47.Djibouti$100.3 million0.03%-25.5%
48.Gambia$94.0 million0.03%-20.9%
49.Central African Rep.$88.5 million0.03%-22.5%
50.Comoros$62.9 million0.02%+404.7%
51.Cabo Verde$62.7 million0.02%-81.3%
52.Saint Helena$26.1 million0.01%+37.2%
53.French South Antarctic$21.2 million0.01%+19.6%
54.Sao Tome/Principe$19.4 million0.01%+221%
55.Br. Indian Ocean Territory$18.5 million0.01%-42.2%
56.Western Sahara$1.9 million0.001%+66.8%

The top 10 African countries provided over three-quarters (76.7%) of African exports for 2016.

Fifteen African export countries increased the value of their exports from 2012 to 2016 led by: Comoros (up 404.7%), Sao Tome/Principe (up 221%), Sierra Leone (up 150%), Madagascar (up 76.4%) and Western Sahara (up 66.8%).

Leading the decliners were: Libya (down -88.6%), Cabo Verde (down -81.3%), Nigeria (down -75.2%), Equatorial Guinea (down -70.7%) and Gabon (down -66.6%).

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

Research Sources:
Central Intelligence Agency, Population statistics by country. Accessed on June 16, 2017

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 16, 2017

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports and World Population, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on June 16, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, Accessed on June 16, 2017