That dollar amount reflects a 16% increase since 2017 and a 42.6% acceleration from 2020 to 2021.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2021, the Nigerian naira depreciated by -32% against the US dollar since 2017 and declined by -12.5% from 2020 to 2021. Nigeria’s weaker local currency makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
Nigeria’s 3 biggest trading partners (India, Spain and France) bought over a third (34.5%) of total Nigerian exported products in 2021 as measured in US dollars.
Applying a continental lens, 39.8% of Nigeria’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 34% were sold to importers in Asia. Nigeria shipped another 12.9% worth of goods within Africa.
Smaller percentages went to North America (8.8%), Latin America (4.3%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania mainly Australia (0.2%).
Nigeria’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 25 of Nigeria’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Nigerian shipments by dollar value during 2021. Also shown is each import country’s percentage consumption of total Nigerian exports.
- India: US$7.8 billion (16.4% of total Nigerian exports)
- Spain: $5.6 billion (11.8%)
- France: $3 billion (6.3%)
- Netherlands: $2.9 billion (6%)
- Canada: $2.2 billion (4.5%)
- United States: $2 billion (4.2%)
- Italy: $1.91 billion (4%)
- Indonesia: $1.87 billion (3.9%)
- mainland China: $1.86 billion (3.9%)
- South Africa: $1.6 billion (3.3%)
- Portugal: $1.4 billion (2.9%)
- Ivory Coast: $1.3 billion (2.8%)
- Brazil: $1.2 billion (2.6%)
- United Kingdom: $1.1 billion (2.4%)
- Turkey: $992.9 million (2.1%)
- Singapore: $917 million (1.9%)
- Poland: $881.9 million (1.9%)
- Germany: $832 million (1.7%)
- Namibia: $669.6 million (1.4%)
- Senegal: $567.5 million (1.2%)
- Cameroon: $554.5 million (1.2%)
- Togo: $499.8 million (1.1%)
- Taiwan: $431.2 million (0.9%)
- Gibraltar: $415.8 million (0.9%)
- Japan: $387.2 million (0.8%)
An impressive (90.1%) of Nigerian exports in 2021 was delivered to the above 25 trading partners.
The fastest growers among Nigeria’s top trading importers increasing their consumption of Nigerian commodities from 2020 to 2021 were Namibia (up 8,012%), Brazil (up 770.9%), Taiwan (up 188.5%), Canada (up 182.3%), Poland (up 169.5%) and Germany (up 167.2%).
Leading the decliners year over year were African trading partners Cameroon (down -51.9%), South Africa (down -38.1%) and Togo (down -12.5%).
Trade Partners Causing Biggest Trade Deficits for Nigeria
Nigeria incurred an overall -$xxx billion deficit for 2021 reversing a $6.2 billion surplus in 2020.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
In 2021, Nigeria incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- Mainland China: -US$11.1 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2021)
- Belgium: -$3.5 billion
- Netherlands: -$2.5 billion
- Russia: -$2.1 billion
- Norway: -$1.3 billion
- United States of America: -$1.2 billion
- South Korea: -$1.1 billion
- United Arab Emirates: -$748.8 million
- Malaysia: -$618.3 million
- Ukraine: -$606.8 million
- Saudi Arabia: -$565 million
Among Nigeria’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Nigerian deficits with Norway (up 422.6%), Ukraine (up 308.4%), Netherlands (up 98.1%) and Belgium (up 88.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Nigeria’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Nigeria to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Trade Partners Generating Greatest Trade Surpluses for Nigeria
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
In 2021, Nigeria incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- Spain: US$4.9 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2021)
- India: $3.2 billion
- France: $1.8 billion
- Canada: $1.7 billion
- Indonesia: $1.5 billion
- Portugal: $1.32 billion
- Ivory Coast: $1.26 billion
- South Africa: $1 billion
- Italy: $843 million
- Poland: $741.7 million
Among Nigeria’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Nigerian surpluses with Italy (up 2,679%), Poland (up 608.8%) and Canada (up 579.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Nigeria’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Nigeria to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Nigeria’s Major Export Companies
Five Nigerian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000 including three regional banks, an insurance conglomerate and a construction materials firm.
- Dangote Cement (construction materials)
- Equity Assurance (financial institution)
- FBN Holdings (regional bank)
- Guaranty Trust Bank (regional bank)
- Zenith Bank (regional bank)
Wikipedia also lists exporters from Nigeria. Selected examples are shown below.
- Julius Berger Nigeria (construction materials)
- Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (oil, gas)
- Oando (oil, gas)
- ROCAD Construction Limited (oil, gas)
- Shell Nigeria (oil, gas)
See also Nigeria’s Top 10 Imports, Nigeria’s Top 10 Exports and Top African Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Africa: Nigeria. Accessed on May 28, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 28, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 28, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 28, 2022
Wikipedia, Romania. Accessed on May 28, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Romania. Accessed on May 28, 2022