Two-way China-Africa commerce surged final yr to a brand new report of $254 billion, a formidable $67 billion improve from the 2020 whole of $187 billion, based on information launched by China’s customs company on Tuesday.
Final yr’s provide chain issues and varied different financial disruptions introduced on by the COVID-19 pandemic apparently didn’t have any measurable impression on the amount of commerce between China and most African nations.
However a lot of the expansion in commerce is attributable to a leap in Chinese language exports to the continent. In earlier years, import and exports had been largely even between the 2 sides — roughly at about $100 billion a yr. Final yr, although, China shipped $148 billion value of products to Africa and imported $106 billion in return.
Whereas the majority of China’s imports got here from a small group of mostly-resource wealthy nations (see subsequent story), there may be some proof that China is broadening its import base to extra nations throughout the continent.
Imports from each Libya and Benin (Libyan oil exports have been steadily growing lately) each jumped 4 occasions in comparison with 2020. And Togo, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, and even eSwatini (listed as Swaziland within the GAC’s grid) all doubled their exports to China final yr (eSwatini is particularly notable given that it’s the solely African nation that doesn’t preserve formal diplomatic relations with China).
What the Information Tells Us Concerning the State of China-Africa Commerce
- TRADE DEFICITS: The dramatic progress in Chinese language exports to Africa final yr goes to place new strain on policymakers from either side. We’re already seeing quite a lot of Chinese language exercise in signing new commerce offers to import extra African agriculture however that alone in all probability gained’t be sufficient to treatment the state of affairs. In the end, it’ll require African nations to diversify their sources of imports and to domestically produce extra of what they devour.
- DURABILITY: Even amid the chaos introduced on by the dearth of ships, a scarcity of transport containers, and port shutdowns that intermittently introduced commerce to a standstill, China-Africa commerce nonetheless discovered a technique to develop robustly final yr. Whereas Africa is now China’s smallest regional buying and selling associate (it dropped behind Oceania final yr), there nonetheless seems to be appreciable enthusiasm on all sides to broaden industrial ties even in these unsure occasions.
South Africa and Nigeria are China’s Largest Commerce Companions in Africa
South Africa and Nigeria had been solely two nations in Africa to be amongst China’s high 5 largest buying and selling companions in each imports and exports:
China’s 5 largest buying and selling companions in Africa (imports + exports mixed):
- South Africa: $54 billion
- Nigeria: $26 billion
- Angola: $23 billion
- Egypt: $19 billion
- DR Congo: $14 billion
China’s largest export markets in Africa:
- Nigeria: $23 billion
- South Africa: $21 billion
- Egypt: $18 billion
- Ghana: $8 billion
- Kenya: $7 billion
Africa’s largest exporters to China:
- South Africa: $33 billion
- Angola: $21 billion
- DRC: $12 billion
- Republic of Congo: $5 billion
- Zambia: $4 billion
It’s essential to notice that a few of these figures usually are not as clear minimize as they seem. South Africa, for instance, is a significant transshipment hub for all the southern African area. Because of this quite a lot of the products that cross by means of the Port of Durban are registered as South African despite the fact that they originate within the DRC or different neighboring nations. This partly helps to elucidate why South Africa’s commerce with China is especially strong.
Africa Amongst China’s Smallest Regional Buying and selling Companions, Asia Far and Away the Largest
Africa accounts for simply 4.2% of China’s $6.05 trillion international commerce portfolio in 2021 and is among the many nation’s smallest regional buying and selling companions. In contrast, China trades extra with nations in Asia than anyplace else on this planet, accounting for greater than half of its whole worldwide commerce:
- Asia: $3.06 trillion
- Europe: $1.178 trillion
- North America: $837 billion
- Latin America & Caribbean: $451 billion
- Oceania: $266 billion
- Africa: $254 billion
- Persian Gulf: $236 billion
- Australia: $231 billion
- APEC: $3.8 trillion
- ASEAN: $878 billion
- European Union: $828 billion
- United States: $755 billion
China Does 4x The Quantity of Commerce With Africa Than the US
Though Chinese language commerce with Africa elevated considerably final yr, it was not at all alone. U.S.-Africa commerce additionally jumped by 22% in the identical interval to $58.4 billion.
Whereas that’s little doubt encouraging for U.S. stakeholders who’ve struggled lately to spice up commerce ties with the continent, these new figures additionally spotlight simply how rather more work must be completed if the U.S. needs to compete with the Chinese language on commerce.
It gained’t be simple to shut the hole, contemplating that China now trades 4.37 occasions as a lot with Africa as the US does.
The entire listing of China’s commerce with particular person nations in Africa and all over the world:
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