The African Trade Report 2023

Submitted by on Thu, 11/02/2023 - 08:50

The African Trade Report (2023) indicated that, the value of intra-African trade reached USD 193.17 billion, growing at 18.6% in 2022, while Africa’s merchandise trade expanded by 20.9% (USD 724.1 billion) over the same period, owing to the implementation of the AfCFTA.

The report notes that, African exports are characterized by few manufactured products which are concentrated in few sectors from a limited number of countries. African countries are urged to extensively invest in the manufacturing sector to accelerate the development of the regional/continental value chains and structural transformation. This is premised on the fact that manufactured products account for about 50% of the continent’s imports.  

This report outlines various policies and initiatives to alleviate trade constraints and catalyse the emergence of vibrant RVCs in Africa. It shows that the confluence of GSC realignment under the new world order and the implementation of the AfCFTA provides a unique opportunity for accelerating manufacturing export growth in Africa. In particular, rules of origin that prioritize local value-addition across the region will induce technology transfer and long-term investment.

The report also reveals large untapped export potential in intra-African trade across all subregions, pointing to significant growth opportunities under the continental free trade area. South Africa, one of the most diversified economies in the region, has long been the leading driver of intra-African trade, accounting for 20.5 percent of the total in 2022. More broadly, the southern Africa region, despite recording a slight year-on-year decline of 4.2 percent, continues to contribute the lion’s share of intra-African trade, accounting for 47.4 percent in 2022.

The report advocates robust investment to close infrastructure deficits, improve the business environment and attract long-term capital. It also argues for a speedy conclusion of negotiations towards a full implementation of the AfCFTA, particularly in respect of the rules of origin. These are crucial steps for Africa to take as the region looks to integrate itself more into the global economy under a new and still-evolving world order.

The report can be accessed through the link below: