The 2011 edition of the African Economic Outlook investigates the increasing
intensity and changing patterns of Africa's trade. It analyses policy options for
African policy-makers to make the best out of Africa's rapid integration into the
The data shown here refer to Africa's total
merchandise trade, i.e. imports plus exports. These
data are broken down by OECD and non-OECD partners and illustrate the biggest
countries in each group. The definitions of merchandise imports and exports are
explained under “International trade in goods”.
All the statistics provided are based on
“ComTrade SITC Revision 3” data series provided by the United Nations. They have been
compiled from trade volumes declared by Africa's trading partners to maximize the
availability of the data. They can be considered of reasonable quality and the most
comparable series available across countries and over time.
Trade between Africa and non-OECD countries
has been growing rapidly during the past decade. China, India, and Brazil are
leading the pack. The share of non-OECD countries in Africa's trade has risen from
26% in 2000 to 39% in 2009. Yet, OECD countries remain key trading partners for
the continent and trade volume between them and Africa countries have kept
growing. Trade between OECD countries and Africa has doubled in nominal value.
OECD partners still dominate African trade
and continue growing, though less rapidly than other emerging partners. The
United States was overtaken by China in 2009 as Africa's major trading partner,
however both these countries remain far behind the level of trade volumes with the
EU total. Some OECD members (for instance, those who were not members of the
OECD's Development Assistance Committee a decade ago) such as Korea and Turkey,
have seen their own trade with Africa surge rapidly over recent years.