African exports by region
Nigeria still has the largest economy in Africa, followed by South Africa and the Maghreb region. Growth has slowed slightly in the Maghreb region, and the GDP output remains in line with the prior year.
Considering the need for high growth both to reward investors and promote socio-economic security, the low rates of growth in Nigeria, South Africa, Southern Africa (ex SA) and Central Africa are worrying. In contrast, the high growth in the Maghreb region, East Africa, Ghana and Francophone West Africa, will reinforce investor interest in these regions.
Across all countries, agriculture, manufacturing and the wholesale and retail trade sectors contribute the most to GDP. These represent key sectors for production and economic activity across all countries in Africa.
Agriculture is a significant proportion (>20%) for Nigeria, East Africa, Francophone West, Ghana and other West Africa.
It’s interesting to note that, although extractive industries made up over 95% of exports in Nigeria in 2018, they only contributed approximately 5% to GDP output. This illustrates a degree of resilience, but still leaves the economy subject to significant currency and commodity price risk. Extractive industries contribute approximately 19% and 21% to GDP for the Maghreb region and Central Africa, respectively.
Utilities and government services contribute approximately 21% to South Africa’s GDP. This is considerably higher than all the other African regions analysed. This highlights the structural difference between the South African economy and other sub-Saharan African countries. This further highlights the impact that mismanaged state-owned enterprises could have on the South African economy.
Across all countries, GDP output is far more diversified than exports, which is significantly concentrated in extractives. This domestic diversification served as a mitigating factor against the impact of the commodity cycle in recent years. The impact, however, remains significant and includes a decrease in government revenue, devaluation of currencies and curtailed public and private spending.